When Victor Melgoza, 25, was called out for a traffic control job in Moorpark at 1 a.m. Monday, he was looking forward to some routine contract work for Southern California Edison (SCE). But just a few hours later, he became a witness to a horror he wishes he could forget.
Melgoza had parked his vehicle at the 11800 block of Broadway Road, an unincorporated area of Moorpark. He was just about to place his last detour sign on the road when at around 4 a.m. the woman living at the home came out screaming for help.
“What I saw, I never want to see again,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a normal day and little did I know that this would happen. I happened to be at the right place at the right time.”
The woman was accompanied by three of her young children, all girls, and explained that her husband had poured gasoline on her and that her bathroom was still on fire.
Melgoza’s co-worker James Mireles, 29, who was also on scene, grabbed a nearby hose and helped to put out the small fire. The pair later noticed a gas can in the home and quickly vacated the house.
Melgoza also spoke with 911 to call emergency personnel to the scene and an ambulance took the injured woman to a local hospital.
“She was freezing and badly burnt,” said Mireles, who has been with Traffic Management Incident (TMI) for just over three months. “She was panicky, but seemed pretty strong.”
Both Melgoza and Mireles had originally been called out to control traffic for SCE, which was conducting a repair outage in the area after a eucalyptus tree had fallen onto a power line. Both men are contractors for TMI and had been placing traffic detour signs so the crew could work on the outage, which has since been repaired.