Fire displaces family of five, No injuries reported

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FORTUNA, Cali. (KIEM)-A family of five is displaced after a fire rips through their home late last night in Fortuna.

“They had the boom, they were dumping water, like 10,000 gallons, I thought the whole Van Duzen River went on there all at once,” said Ron Weaver.

Ron Weaver was relaxing in his living room – watching the Laker’s game, when he noticed a strong smell of smoke.

“And I opened up the window, God it’s a smoky night,” he said. “This is terrible”

He assumed the smoke was from the wildfires.

“I come out, I look out that window, the whole thing was a blaze,” said Weaver.

“Just before 11 p.m. (Tuesday) we got called out on a structure up on Thomas Street,” said Fortuna’s Fire Chief Lon Winburn. “A report came in that it started in the garage and moved into the residence.” 

Weaver said the fire was fierce.

“It was horrible,” he said. “I just, got, stayed out of the way and stayed back.”

According to Winburn, crews discovered a loft constructed over the garage – which he says, is where the fire started.

Weaver says, he spoke to the head of the household to check on the family.

“I said you OK? She (said) good. Is the family good? She said, yeah,” said Weaver. “How did it start? They were cooking upstairs in the bedroom.”

“It was pretty intense, unfortunately the structure is inhabitable,” said Fire Chief Winburn. “There were five people living in it, they are going to be, obviously be dispersed.”

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries despite the severity of the fire. However, Winburn says, it could have been worst.

“My guess is that they did not have working smoke detectors,” he said. “Fortunately the time of night, 10:30 – 11 o’clock at night, not everyone was sound asleep.”

The incident is under investigation.

Winburn says, the Red Cross is assisting the family, who returned to home the next day, but declined to be interviewed Redwood news.  

Winburn adds – those who plan on doing renovations to their homes should go through the proper channels.

“When that building official, (says) we’ll let you know, hey, you have to have a permit to install that, you know it’s for a good reason,” he said.