MU­TUAL AID RE­SPONSE

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@escalon­times.com

A se­ries of fires along the rail­road tracks be­tween Oak­dale and River­bank on Mon­day morn­ing, July 17 saw a co­or­di­nated re­sponse from mul­ti­ple units, with five Stanis­laus Con­sol­i­dated sta­tions send­ing equip­ment and per­son­nel. Escalon Fire Depart­ment also sent an engine to the scene, an­swer­ing a mu­tual aid call.

Stanis­laus Con­sol­i­dated Fire Pro­tec­tion Dis­trict Bat­tal­ion Chief Eric DeHart said the first call came in around 9:40 a.m. Mon­day.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion did de­ter­mine that it (the cause) came from the train,” DeHart said of sparks from a pass­ing train on the Sierra rail­road line ig­nit­ing a se­ries of fires.

“Ash (Av­enue) was the first fire we had, the last one we had was al­most to Lang­worth, so it was a cou­ple of miles,” DeHart said of the fire’s path.

All the fires were along the tracks, which run par­al­lel to High­way 108 and Pat­ter­son Road, with sev­eral ru­ral roads run­ning north and south be­tween the two main roads.

Oak­dale had two en­gines on scene, while River­bank, Water­ford and the Yosemite sta­tion by the Fruit-yard all sent one, with an­other engine called in for mu­tual aid from Escalon. The en­gines were in ad­di­tion to the mul­ti­ple brush trucks and fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors that re­sponded to the scene.

About 20 fire­fight­ing per­son­nel were in­volved in the ef­fort as well, as crews worked their way along the rail­road right of way to put out the hot spots. DeHart said the fire­fight­ing ef­fort was dif­fi­cult but crews were able to con­tain the se­ries of fires ef­fi­ciently.

“It’s tough to get in to the rail­road right of way, we had to use the smaller grass and brush trucks so it was more of a chal­lenge,” DeHart ex­plained.

He said crews were able to clear the scene about 1 p.m. but were quickly called to an acre-and-a-half fire off Rod­den Road at Red Fox, with an­other Escalon unit also re­spond­ing there for mu­tual aid.

MARG JACK­SON/THE TIMES

Escalon’s Engine 1-4 ar­rives on scene and awaits fur­ther in­struc­tions, re­spond­ing to a mu­tual aid call at a se­ries of fires along the rail­road tracks in Oak­dale on Mon­day morn­ing, July 17.

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