OAKHURST — Firefighters were called out just after 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, for reports of a residential structure fire on Dorstan Lane, just off Road 222.
When crews arrived they found a travel trailer fully engulfed in flames, which were quickly spreading to a nearby storage building. The fire also ignited a large cedar tree next to the trailer, but firefighters extinguished the flames before they could jump to surrounding trees or the home just feet away.
The occupants of the trailer were not at home when the fire started, however their two dogs and a cat were inside. A neighbor ran to the burning trailer and tried his best to get the animals out, but none were breathing and the man suffered burns to one of his hands in his attempt to rescue the pets. Sadly, all three perished in the fire.
According to the Incident Commander, there was no power to the home, and no propane hooked up; however there was a wood stove inside, and the occupants said they’d had a fire in the stove early in the day. It is not known at this time if that is what ignited the fire; the cause remains under investigation.
Cal Fire Engines 4260 and 4275 responded, along with Madera County Fire Engine 18, Water Tenders 16 and 18, and Battalion Chief 13. Station 12 was called up to assist not long after being released from a major accident on Highway 41 in Oakhurst.
Crews had the fire knocked down shortly after 9 p.m., but it appears the structures are a total loss, and the residents are, of course, devastated by the loss of their pets.
UPDATE Feb. 8: A fund has been established for the people who lost their home and pets in a recent structure fire. Those who wish to donate can send a check to Central Valley Community Bank at PO Box 3750, Oakhurst, Ca. for Steve Bennett, account number 011021764.