Mid Thursday afternoon, at 2:19 p.m., firefighters responded to a fire on Road 621 in Ahwahnee.
“I heard a crackling sound,” resident Craig Fetty said, “and went outside to check. I peaked around the edge of the fence and saw a huge wall of smoke. I ran back inside, told everyone to get out, and grabbed the dogs.” The fire quickly spread to the small mobile home, in which six people resided.
One neighbor believed the fire started in the carport, saying that she saw the smoke then heard two explosions, but wasn’t sure if it was a propane tank or car that had exploded.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chris Christopherson said that while the fire had been contained to an acre, he was unable to provide further details until closer inspection. He did take the opportunity to restate the importance of clearing and maintaining a 100-feet of defensible space around structures.
A later Cal Fire report indicated the fire had burned 2.6 acres of mostly grass and brush, that three spot fires had been contained to small areas, and that the carport and two small, older camping trailers were completely lost. A vehicle in need of repairs, owned by property owner Cleon Jones, was also destroyed. There was minimal damage to the mobile home, other than a small portion of flooring that had to pulled up in the back bathroom. Red Cross placed the family in a hotel for three days.
According to Cal Fire, the residents did not have 100-feet of defensible space around their residence.
Eleven fire engines, two bulldozers, two crews, and air support responded to the fire, and crews remained on scene until 8:30 p.m. to monitor hot spots.
“This was definitely too close for comfort,” said neighbor Karen Box. The fire came within two feet of a tree house on her property.
“I was at work when the fire started and got a call from my son,” Box said. “He moved the vehicles and got the animals out of the house, and I raced home. It’s very scary to have the fire come this close.”
“The firefighters need to be congratulated,” Craig’s mother, Suzanne Fetty said. “They were here within two minutes of my 911 call.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.