SPFD: Blaze burns avocado, lemon branches on South Mountain Road

December 22, 2010
Santa Paula News

A woodpile caught fire in a blaze that Santa Paula Fire Department investigators believe was not arson, especially since the area where the December 13 burn occurred is remote.


According to SPFD Captain Steve Lazenby, the fire was reported at about 11 p.m. on Monday, December 13. “Engine 81 was dispatched alone to a large pile of firewood burning on a ranch” on the 17300 block of South Mountain Road/Lemon Company Road.

“The property owner met Engine 81 at the road, pointed out the fire hydrant on the street, and ‘bird dogged’ the engine to the fire,” which Lazenby said was about a half mile off the road and visible from the Santa Clara River/12th Street Bridge. Lazenby said when firefighters arrived at the fire they found it was a “stack of avocado and lemon wood that was stacked” two to three feet deep and spread out over an area of about 20 feet wide and 50 feet long that was “well involved in fire.”

SPFD Chief Rick Araiza said firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in short order with the first tank of water, and when Engine 81 returned to the roadway to fill the tank the property owner spread the smoldering wood with a backhoe.

When firefighters returned they again wet down the wood and applied foam until, said Lazenby, it was a “cold debris pile.... The property owner was advised that there may be some hot embers in the pile and there may be some fire and smoke throughout the night.” The property owner was advised that if the fire flared up again or if he was worried “He should call 911 and call us out again.”

There was no determination on the cause of the fire, and Araiza said the property owner advised that although he has an employee that is a smoker, he had left the site at 3 p.m. Araiza said arson is not believed to be the cause, as “the fire was on private property in a fairly remote area... arson isn’t very likely.”

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