Man in wheelchair trapped in burning home after woman sets it on fire, Calif. cops say

A California Highway Patrol officer and a Ridgecrest police officer working on school bicycle safety classes spotted smoke Friday and found a house ablaze, the CHP reports.

The officers heard someone screaming for help inside, but couldn’t initially open the locked front door, a Ridgecrest Police Department release posted to Facebook says.

The CHP officer broke a decorative window in the door, releasing a plume of smoke, while two passers-by helped open the door, the CHP statement says. Smoke filling the home left less than six inches of visibility.

“Despite the incredible intense heat from large flames engulfing the room, both officers dropped to the floor and began crawling towards the cries for help,” the CHP release says.

The two officers found a 50-year-old man seatbelted to a heavy electric wheelchair, according to the release. They tipped the wheelchair over to get the man beneath the smoke, then freed him and dragged him outside.

While the officers rescued the man, someone else helped Andrea Doss, 32, to safety from the back of the home, CHP officers wrote.

Firefighters doused the blaze, which was determined to be suspicious, KERO reported.

Police arrested Doss on suspicion of arson and attempted murder, KGET reported. She’s being held on $550,000 bail, according to the station.

Her connection to the man found inside the home remains unclear, KERO reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.