The Bakers lost their two-story house in Laguna during the first hour of New Year’s Day.
Around 12:45 a.m., Christian Baker noticed that his service dog was acting strange.
“He was jumping and barking at the window,” he recalled. “He never does that.”
The father heard a loud “pop” after he let his dog in. He said that the noise was closer than it should be.
Baker then saw that his car as well as a part of his house was burning. He evacuated his wife, Ashley, and three children who are between the ages of 8 months to 6 years old. After he called 911, Cosumnes firefighters arrived a few minutes later. They were not injured, but Baker later found their deceased cat when he returned to his home after the fire.
“I was trying to salvage some clothes and just trying to find the essentials, and that’s when I found him in the master bedroom,” he said in a telephone interview.
Their house at Fox Den Court, which is a few blocks away from Elk Grove City Hall, is considered to be a total loss in damages.
“It’s hard to tell because between taking care of errands and phone calls, we’ve been trying to get back to the house to salvage things,” Baker said about the extent of damage.
This fire was the Cosumnes Fire Department’s first incident of 2021, Cosumnes Battalion Chief Dan Quiggle told the Citizen.
He said that the cause of the fire is currently under investigation, but they have not ruled out it was caused by fireworks. Investigators believe that the fire started outside and then spread to a car in the driveway before advancing to the house. The flames reached as far as the home’s second story.
Baker told the Citizen that his insurance provider believes that the fire was sparked by an illegal firework. He mentioned that people lit fireworks near his home that night.
His family is now staying at a hotel while Baker and his wife seek a new house and car.
“Everything is all over the place right now,” he said.
Baker said that he and Ashley want to keep their children enrolled in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Both parents are Elk Grove High School graduates. Baker is a handyman as well as a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq.
Friends of the Bakers this month started online fundraisers to support the family. A GoFundMe page raised more than $5,200 for them, as of press time.
“We appreciate the support that was a lot more than I anticipated,” Baker said. “Just with the way the world is right now, it renewed my hope in humanity, at least in Elk Grove.