Burnt bills are among the only things Rigo Rangel was able to salvage from the charred remains of his home.
His was among three San Jose houses gutted by a three-alarm fire Sunday.
“I heard an explosion and flames came to my face,” Rangel said.
The soccer coach said he was barely able to get his wife, three children and two dogs to safety when the blaze ripped through his Snow Drive home.
“I saw my home, a part of my life here, gone and now I have to start again with my family but everyone [is] OK – I’m happy,” Rangel mused.
Although glad his family is well, Rangel was sad to lose over $3,000 in soccer team dues as well as soccer equipment, which didn’t survive the fire.
Paul Salinas, another victim of Sunday’s scorcher, said: “My mother was in the house – she is 85 – and the firefighters broke the doors down to get in.”
Fire officials said that winds sent embers over the neighboring sound wall, sparking a grass fire on Highway 101. One southbound lane was closed to traffic for an hour to make room for firefighters.
Arson investigators searched for the fire’s point of origin on Monday.
“Right now, we believe it started outside the house in between two houses," said Chris Murphy from the San Jose Fire Department’s Arson Unit.
NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.