BASS LAKE — A resident who has lived at Bass Lake for nearly 25 years lost a house in a fire today. If ever there were an upside to such an event, it is that the house that burned was a rental property; and the home he shares with his wife next door was spared as firefighters kept the flames from spreading to surrounding structures and vegetation.
Don Weaver had been getting his rental house on Chickadee Lane ready to sell, after owning it for about seven years. Having had a termite inspection and treatment done, and taking down eight dead trees on the lot — one of which was growing up through the deck — he decided to replace the roof.
Just before noon, Don stepped out onto the back second-floor deck to talk to the men who were up on the roof working, and noticed smoke coming from some of the shingles.
Everyone grabbed hoses and did their best to douse the fire, and Don and several neighbors called 911, but the flames spread rapidly, moving into the rafters, and the whole house was quickly engulfed.
First engine at scene reported the home “fully involved,” and Madera County Sheriff’s deputies asked that CHP be called out to close down Road 432 between Idylwild and Deer Lane to allow clear and safe access to fire crews, and protect the public.
Cal Fire Engines 4294, 4264 and 4255 responded, along with Madera County Fire Engines 12 and 18, and Water Tender 14. Sierra National Forest Engine 51 out of North Fork and 313 from Batterson were also at scene, and Madera County Breathing Support Unit 14 delivered oxygen tanks for firefighters working in the dense smoke. PG&E was also called out.
At one point, Sierra Ambulance was dispatched for reports of an injury, but they were called off and no one has been reported suffering burns or smoke inhalation.
Don says this is the third time he has lost a home to fire. First was on Poy Ah Now in North Fork, when he says it was deliberately set on fire by people stealing from the property. Another house burned on Douglas Ranger Station Road when he says a renter failed to extinguish a cigarette.
As he stood watching crews working to contain the fire on Chickadee, he seemed to be taking this most recent loss in stride.
“You can’t control fate,” he said, expressing his main concern that the fire didn’t spread to surrounding homes.
Don and his wife had tenants arriving tomorrow to stay in the home that is now a total loss, but since the scheduled renters are friends, they will make other arrangements.
“I have a motorhome sitting down at Yosemite Smog, and I’ll just set it up at our place, and they can stay there,” he says.
By about 1:15 p.m., firefighters had the flames knocked down to where there was no longer smoke showing, and they moved from suppression efforts to mop-up and control.
Don says the men doing the work on the roof had set down a torch, igniting the fire. Cal Fire investigators could not confirm that scenario at this time, and continue their investigation.
Meanwhile, Don remains stoic about the curves life throws at a person.
“You just can’t control what the good Lord is going to do,” says Don. “You just gotta keep living your life.”
As of 3 p.m., Road 432 between Idlywild and Deer remains closed.