Struc­tures Threat­ened In Mon­day Af­ter­noon Fire

Riverbank News - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@oak­dale­leader.com

Stanis­laus Con­sol­i­dated Fire Pro­tec­tion Dis­trict crews were among those re­spond­ing to a veg­e­ta­tion fire in Escalon just across the county line from River­bank on Mon­day af­ter­noon, July 30.

Au­thor­i­ties said the fire was re­ported first as a veg­e­ta­tion fire just be­fore 2 p.m., then was es­ca­lated into a veg­e­ta­tion fire with a struc­ture pos­si­bly in­volved. The call in the 23000 block of Henry Road, just off Santa Fe, was in San Joaquin County but sev­eral Stanis­laus County crews were called in to as­sist.

Escalon Con­sol­i­dated Fire Pro­tec­tion Dis­trict Chief Rick Mello said once the call was up­dated to in­clude the po­ten­tial struc­ture in­volve­ment, he asked for ad­di­tional units.

Ar­riv­ing on scene, he said crews found scrub brush in­volved and the fire was close to both a home and a shop.

Some crews quickly set up for struc­ture pro­tec­tion while oth­ers at­tacked the brush fire, which he said started due to a mow­ing op­er­a­tion. The rid­ing mower was a to­tal loss but there was no dam­age to the house or sev­eral ve­hi­cles parked out­side. Dam­age to the nearby shop was re­stricted to mi­nor scorch­ing on one side, Mello said, cov­er­ing just a small por­tion of one out­side wall.

“This could have been very bad,” the chief pointed out.

The Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol also re­sponded and briefly shut down a por­tion of Henry Road be­tween Lee Av­enue and Santa Fe.

“It was hard work by the first group of guys on scene,” Mello added of the key to the fire­fight­ing ef­fort and sav­ing the build­ings from be­ing over­taken by the flames. “There was a fast rate of spread.”

The brush and grass fire scorched be­tween three and four acres, Mello es­ti­mated, and there were three dozen fire­fight­ers in­volved in the ef­fort.

Stanis­laus Con­sol­i­dated En­gine 26, Bat­tal­ion 2, Train­ing 3, En­gine 20 and Wa­ter Ten­der 27 were among the lo­cal agen­cies re­spond­ing, along with other Stanis­laus and San Joaquin County units.

“We’re very for­tu­nate,” Mello said, not­ing that the call had the po­ten­tial for a much more dev­as­tat­ing out­come as well as keep­ing crews there for sev­eral hours. As it was, the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­ders were able to clear the scene by shortly af­ter 4 p.m.

There were no in­juries re­ported.

MARG JACK­SON/THE NEWS

Mow­ing in the af­ter­noon heat proved to be a bad de­ci­sion, as it sparked a fire that burned some three acres of brush and dry grass along Henry Road, off Santa Fe on Mon­day af­ter­noon, July 30.

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