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Fire Crews Save House From Total Loss

OAKHURST – A collection of treasured items gathered over many years went up in flames, or suffered water or smoke damage when a home on Road 425B caught fire last night.

At 8:27 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, fire crews were dispatched to the house where fire was spreading through the garage and the attic.Homeowner watches the fire 1-15-13

The homeowner stood in the yard, shoes wet in the frigid temperatures, watching as firefighters hauled the smouldering remains of years of collecting out onto the driveway.

“All the things my father gave me. All the things he had collected over the years, they were entrusted to me,” he said.

Smoke from the roof photo by Karen HulbertThe homeowner, who didn’t wish to be named, said his father was an art director “back in the glory days” at MGM studios in the 1930’s and beyond, and when he passed away, many of the treasures he had amassed came to this home in Oakhurst.

Firefighters roll carpet out onto the lawn 1-15-13A beautiful silk carpet, brought from China many years ago, was now a several-hundred pound lump of blackened fabric, rolled out onto the lawn, still smoking. Boxes of smouldering memories being hauled into the yard is something anyone who has experienced the devastation of a house fire can identify with.

Firefighters in the garage at house fire 1-16-13While he watched the pieces of his life being piled unceremoniously on the driveway and doused with water, he was quick to praise the firefighters who had responded so quickly and saved the structure.

“These guys are amazing,” he said. “They got here so fast, and I’m so grateful. I’ve lost so many things, but at least the structure is still intact.”

He was also fortunate that fire crews got the blaze under control in such short order, and the fire was contained mostly to the garage and attic area. Though he lost all the items he had stored in the garage, the main part of the house was saved, though smoke and water damage were widespread.

Engines at house fire on Road 425B 1-15-13Engine crews from Oakhurst, Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Cedar Valley, and Coarsegold were all called out. When firefighters from around the area respond to a fire in these numbers, it leaves some stations without personnel. Cal Fire spokesperson Karen Guillemin explained that other crews are then called in to cover those stations.

“We don’t ever want to leave anybody without service,” said Guillemin. “So when we’re going to have extended commitments, we call and bump up other station personnel to help cover the spots where we need the extra coverage.”

Investigators say the fire started in the garage, and was caused by an electrical problem.

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