Penn Valley Fire District responded to a structure fire in the 13-thousand block of Empress near Bitney Springs Road just before noon yesterday (Tuesday). Penn Valley Fire Chief Gene Vandeer Plaats explains an off duty firefighter was the first on the scene.
“There is a firefighter who lives at the fire station on Bitney Springs. It’s an unstaffed station, but him and his wife actually live there. When he’s off duty and he’s home, he responds to calls in that area and so he was able to get there probably 10 minutes ahead of the engine and just made a fantastic stop.”
Units from Penn Valley, Grass Valley, Nevada County Consolidated and Rough & Ready Fire responded. The First engine arrived to find a fully involved garage with a short breeze way connecting to a house. The fire was lapping at the siding of the house. The engine made a stop of the fire in the breeze way and prevented the house from being involved in the fire. Chief Vandeer Platts says this is an example of the automatic aid they have with neighboring fire agencies. Without the cooperative efforts, this would have been a total loss of a home.
“To me, the mutual aid and the automatic aid system is so important and this is why we’re concerned about Nevada County Consolidated’s measure. If it fails, we’re going to be missing a chunk of that. That station that came to help us out may not be opened today because they’re going to have to let some people go and close some fire stations and it would have really made a difference on this fire.”
The garage, including a vehicle, were a total loss but there was no damage to the house. The preliminary cause is said to be embers from the fire place that were placed outside near the garage and vegetation. A Further investigation is still being conducted.