A number of incidents kept the Patterson Fire Department (PFD) busy over the weekend and through the early part of this week. Two structure fires sidestepped disaster, while a vehicle fire Saturday night has prompted an investigation.
The vehicle fire in question occurred just before midnight on Trout Creek, the call coming in at 11:58 p.m. Neighbors heard a loud pop before going outside and noticing the vehicle engulfed in flames, and PFD dispatched 10 fire personnel to the scene.
The only other information available as of press time through the PFD is that the circumstances surrounding the incident are suspicious.
Earlier on Saturday, at 7:51 in the morning, a potentially nasty structure fire that began inside a wall of a home on the 400 block of North Fourth Street was avoided through the resourcefulness of the resident.
Upon waking up, she had smelt smoke, felt along the wall and noticed that the hallway was hot. After dialing 911, the resident shut off the main electricity to her house.
"It could’ve gotten really, really bad if she hadn’t noticed it ... and wasn’t able to disconnect the electricity," Division Chief Jeff Gregory said. "It could’ve been going like that all night long."
About nine firefighters were on-scene, along with a fire engine and truck containing special equipment.
"We went in there with our thermal imaging camera, and we noticed a very hot line on the camera behind the wall, inside the wall," Gregory said. "So we cut open the wall, and there was some wiring that had shorted out and was starting to burn the wall studs."
PFD was at the residence for about an hour and a half, and PG&E and AT&T showed up as well to look over the electrical issues. The resident told personnel that she would be able to stay with family until the wiring was fixed.
Monday night too saw residents help in averting substantial fire damage to their home on the 200 block of Tyler Street. They were frying food on an electric stove when grease splattered and caught fire, which spread to the back of the stove and to kitchen cabinetry.
Fire Chief Steven Hall detailed that the house had filled with smoke, as grease fires are very smokey. Residents initially exacerbated the incident by pouring water over the flames in an attempt to put them out.
"That’s what we understand, and that’s a bad thing," Hall said. "Never put water on a grease fire."
Fortunately, the resulting damage was minimal, according to Hall, and besides some additional smoke damage in the kitchen area, was mostly confined to the stove and microwave. And though smoke still filled the house, the residents were able to put out the flames before fire personnel arrived.
"As a matter of fact, when I arrived, I was first on the scene, and there was no smoke showing at all," Hall said.
PFD received the call at 8:04 p.m. and was at the residence for around 40 minutes. Two engines, a truck, a rescue and an ambulance were dispatched, as the resident who made the call was coughing, giving responders reason to believe that the victims may be trapped inside or require medical attention.
"So we respond full-alarm on that," Hall said in reference to the victim’s coughing. "Both were looked at by paramedics for possible smoke inhalation, and they both were released at the scene. So there was no medical condition there."
"We did offer Red Cross for the night," Hall added, "until they could get ahold of their insurance and assess the damage and then repair the damage."