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Two-Alarm Vegetation Fire Destroys Abandoned House
Sunday Blaze
E fire pix
Escalon firefighters, an engine from Ripon and Escalon police were on scene of a vegetation and abandoned house fire on Sunday, May 22 in Escalon, at the corner of Irwin and California. Photo Courtesy Of Allison Wendland

A late morning vegetation fire at the corner of California and Irwin in Escalon ultimately destroyed a long abandoned house on the property.

The call was received by the Escalon Fire Department – and Escalon Police – shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 22.

Escalon Police has received multiple calls of a fire and Escalon Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Pelot said the call originally came in as a vegetation fire when the department was dispatched.

“It came in as a vegetation fire and by the time we got there it was already into the house,” Pelot explained of the fast moving fire.

Cause of the fire remained under investigation at press time, with firefighter Ryan Burr serving as the lead investigator.

“We have witnesses that said it started in the grass,” Pelot said. “It was well overgrown.”

The property at the northeast corner of California and Irwin was in close proximity to some additional occupied homes but Pelot said crews were able to contain the fire to the vegetation and the unoccupied, dilapidated home. He said it had been abandoned and in disrepair for several years.

“Ryan Burr responded with Kaden Christensen and Engine 1-1; when they got on scene they said they had a quarter acre of grass with a rapid rate of spread,” explained Pelot. “Mark Bennett and I came in on the brush truck; we took care of the brush and vegetation because it was burning toward the nearby houses.”

Ripon Fire Department was called in for automatic aid and sent an engine along with three firefighters.

Escalon Police were on scene to assist with traffic control during the firefighting effort.

After knocking down the vegetation fire, Pelot said they made the decision to let the house go.

“It was such a hazard, being abandoned,” he explained. “It was decided we were just going to stand back and let it burn itself out.”

There was no damage to any of the other homes in the vicinity. Pelot added that a fence on the property was damaged in a fire last year and crews worked quickly to contain the vegetation fire and protect the surrounding homes.

Four personnel from Escalon Fire Department were on scene along with the three from Ripon. They were on scene until about 3:45 p.m. Sunday extinguishing some hot spots. They returned about 4:15 p.m., when a caller reported a fire in the area again, but it was determined to just be lingering smoke from the original fire.

The investigation into the cause of the fire continues; there were no injuries reported.

While crews were on scene at the vegetation and house fire, another call in the district came in, a vehicle accident at River Road and Burwood at about 1:15 p.m. Sunday. Ripon handled that call for Escalon as part of a mutual aid agreement.