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Moped catches fire inside South Bend home

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South bend firefighters had to call in extra crews after a moped caught fire inside a house on the 1800 block of South Brookfield Street.

It happened just after 5 p.m. Thursday night. The blaze quickly spread to a neighboring home before firefighters were able to get the fire under control.

"I heard my neighbor yelling help, help, somebody help".

Oneida Valdez lives right next door to the home that caught fire. Valdez was home at the time and said when she ran outside, she saw flames coming from a moped in the yard.

That is when she jumped into action, grabbing a small fire extinguisher from her house to put out the small flames, but despite her quick thinking the fire spread to the house.

"It was just scary that you could see the flames and with the little breeze we had, it was just coming towards my house," said Valdez.

The man that lives in the home was working on his moped, inside his house, when the moped started leaking gas and eventually sparked a fire in the engine.

The man then moved the moped outside, but it was too late. Firefighters say the water heater inside the house had already ignited the gas fumes in the air.

Within minutes the house was engulfed in flames and then quickly spread to the vacant house next door.

"The fumes from the gasoline are very volatile and you wouldn't see them, but they will seek an ignition source. That ignition source can be any pilot light you have in your house," said South Bend Battalion Chief Al Krisits.

Kirsits said this fire should serve as a reminder to everyone not to keep any gas-powered machinery inside the house, especially in this dry, hot weather.

Even though firefighters said this could have been a lot worse, Valdez is just happy no one was hurt.

"Thank the Lord my neighbor and everybody else is OK. You can't ask for anything more than that. Regardless it's a house, it's a material thing. You can replace that, but you can't replace a person," said Valdez.

The home is deemed a complete loss and the Red Cross is now assisting the family that lived in the home.

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