The single-story home of Steve and Pam Payne on DeNa Lane in North Fork was destroyed by fire at about 10 a.m. Monday and although the fire is under investigation, it is believed that a space heater on the back porch of the house may have been the cause.
According to Karen Guillemin, spokesperson for Cal Fire, said the home was totally involved when the first fire engines arrived on scene with flames coming out the front door and most of the windows of the house.
In her attempt to save cats who were living on the porch, Pam Payne received burns to her hand and face when she opened the porch door and was hit with flames and smoke. She was transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno by Sierra Ambulance, where she was treated and released.
The house, located off Road 225, east of Road 274, and all the contents, were completely destroyed with the loss estimated at $200,000.
A vehicle in the homes carport was saved by firefighters.
Pams mother, Victoria Monson, lived in another house on the property that was not affected by the fire.
Pam Paynes brother and his 12-year-old son, a student at North fork elementary School, also lived in the house but were not at home at the time of the fire. Steve was at work when the fire broke out.
The Paynes are former owners of the Mountain House Restaurant on the northeast corner of Highway 41 and Bass Lake Road (222).
Both Steve, who works for the Madera County Road Department and Pam, who is the food service director at Camp Oakhurst, took part-time jobs with Claudia Box, owner of Box Feed in North Fork just two weeks ago.
Claudia Box, owner of Box Feed in North Fork, is providing an unfurnished three-bedroom two bath apartment in North Fork for the family. The apartment became available just days before the fire. Box Feed is serving a s a drop-off location for donations to the family including furniture, clothing and canned goods.
They are long-time friends and customers of our business, Box said. They are good, honest, hard-working religious people and I certainly hope the community rallies around them. After the fire, all they have is the clothes on their back.
Steve Bansbach, owner of North Fork Mini Storage has donated a storage unit that people can bring supplies to for the family. The business, located at 58190 Road 225, is open during daylight hours, seven days a week.
The Paynes pastor, Herk Rolff of Little Church in the Pines said the church has refrigerator and freezer space for food and canned food collections. For those wishing to make arrangements for drop-off Monday through Friday, call (559) 658-5233.
Camp Oakhurst, at 36611 Mudge Ranch Road, is also serving as a donation location. Hours for drop-off are 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. seven days a week. donations will be stored in the camps Friendship Hall, which also has a refrigerator for food items.
Responding to the fire were 16 firefighters from Cal Fire (Bass Lake and Rancheria), Sierra National Forest engine 51 and Madera County Fire Departments, including companys 11 (North Fork), 14 (Bass Lake), 18 (Fish Camp) and 15 (Raymond).