BAY POINT, Calif. (KGO) -- Neighbors in Bay Point say the fire that burned four homes early Thursday morning was not a surprise to them. They say they knew something might happen because of what was going on inside a van parked nearby.
The fire on Anchor Drive sent residents running. Many grabbed what they valued most. "My kids, that's the first thing, my kids," Sylvia Hernandez said.
Seven people suffered smoke inhalation, four were taken to the hospital including one who also had second degree burns.
Of the four homes damaged, two were a total loss.
It was especially devastating for residents who say they tried to warn law enforcement this could happen.
Investigators say the fire started in a van. They uncovered drug paraphernalia. "We called the police many times, all the neighbors called all the time, and they just came and told them 'oh you can't be around here,"' Arceli Hurtado said.
Hugo Yoc lives next door and the inside of his home was severely damaged. "Working for a long time for my house and then one moment lost everything," he said.
Neighbors reported hearing explosions. "I thought I was going to lose my life," Rodrigo Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez was treated for smoke inhalation. "I saw flames coming out of the windows, my car on fire, everything on fire," he said.
He said he wasn't surprised to learn the source of the fire. "Automatically I knew it was them because a lot of homeless people go there and do a lot of stuff," Gonzalez said.
With the cause determined, the next phase of the investigation is underway. "We know what, but now the trick is find out exactly who and that may not be exactly something we're able to prove," Contra Costa County Fire Marshall Robert Marshall said.