Brush Fire on San Joaquin River Burns Homes

July 2, 2009 11:54:33 PM PDT
A fire department official told Action News the fire triggered the biggest response in Fresno in at least twenty years.        |   Watch Videos Above for More Information on this Story   |

It started around four-o'clock Thursday afternoon in the San Joaquin riverbed near Alluvial and Fruit, but it quickly raced towards homes on the bluffs. Crews from the Fresno Fire Department and the Forest Service are here to keep the fire from flaring up again.

The fire burned a dozen acres, destroyed one home, and threatened an entire neighborhood. The fire started along the banks of the San Joaquin River but quickly raced up the bluffs to nearby homes.

Emil Natali said, "I was in the backyard, I saw the smoke and called 911. And I didn't think it was that big of a fire to start with, but it got bigger and bigger, so I ran down and started putting water on it."

The fire destroyed one home. The 90 year old man who lived there didn't want to leave.

"Mr. Duke, he's very old and by himself. I couldn't get to him and I told the firemen to get him out," said Natali.

The man was taken to safety and wasn't hurt. But his home, listed for sale for nearly a million dollars was destroyed. Two other homes were also damaged. Eight houses were evacuated and the entire neighborhood was afraid.

Some neighbors think kids with fireworks were to blame, but the fire department isn't sure how it started. They were on the scene in two minutes, but faced tough conditions.

With nearly one hundred personnel on the scene the city of Clovis and the County Fire Department covered much of the city while the Fresno Fire Department handled this fire.

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