Four people are dead following a shooting that led to an explosion and house fire in Santa Maria on Friday.
Police first responded to reports of a shooting at Casa Grande Senior Mobile Estates around noon. An explosion and fire followed the gunshots .
Nearby residents who heard the gunfire and the explosion on the 500 block of West Taylor tell KSBY News the situation was terrifying.
“I started hearing really loud popping noises from outside,” Jeanne Pate said, who lives just a few doors down from the explosion.
What many neighbors thought was the sound of fireworks was actually the sound of the deadly shooting.
Pate reported seeing “big black billows of smoke and then I saw police cars coming from every direction possible and running across my front lawn.”
Police say when they arrived at the mobile park, they found two men dead near the clubhouse.
Faced with finding a possible active shooter, the explosion and fire made the situation worse.
“Fire crews held off initially until we had officers who could escort them safely into fire area once it was safe because once again we didn’t know if we had someone roaming around the neighborhood,” Santa Maria Police Chief Phil Hansen said.
The fire caused ammunition inside one of the homes to go off, officials said, making it especially challenging for firefighters.
Pate said she the situation was “frightening because the number one mobile homes are very close together, easily flammable.”
Many expressed shock something like this happened in their quiet neighborhood.
“I’m surprised, especially being a senior trailer park,” Keith Castro said. “We’ve been here going on three years now. But it can happen anywhere.”
Police say they believe the shooter died in the fire. People who knew the shooter say he was not friendly and kept to himself. As many as four homes are badly burned or destroyed.
Evacuation and shelter in place orders have been lifted but crews still remained on scene Friday night to investigate just went on including the motive behind all of this.
Police will officially release the suspect and victim’s names once relatives are notified.