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Knightsen House Fire Likely Caused by Marijuana Grow

knightsenfire3

At 9:44 pm on Sunday night, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District responded to a one-alarm fire on Tulare Lane in Knightsen. The fire left a home in ruins and required 26-firefighters to stop the blaze with one firefighter injured with a first degree burn to his ear.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation but one firefighter explained it was a “grow house” for marijuana. Meanwhile, the Battalion Chief’s incident summary states the probable cause as “dryer lint accumulated on a marijuana grow lamp ballast located under the house.”

In speaking with one firefighter Monday, he explained the fire as one of the hotter ones he has been on in quite some time.

“It was burning above us, below us, in front of us and behind us. Typically we don’t see that. It was so hot,” he explained. “We were able to pull a lot of items out of the home which the homeowner was very thankful,” said the firefighter who wished to remain anonymous.

Fire crews were unable to make an interior attack on the fire since the it breached through the floor. In response, crews cut multiple holes in the home for ventilation—walls, floor, and roof—so they could gain access.

Fire damage was limited to the two bedrooms on the bravo (left) side of the home, but the entire house had smoke and heat damage throughout the structure. No injuries to the homeowners, but as stated above, one firefighter had a first degree burn to his ear.

Crews were on scene for roughly 4.5 hours and did not get back to the stations until after 2:30 am.

A lesson for why 2-man crews wouldn’t work in East County

With this incident occurring in Knightsen, responding crews had to rely on four water tenders for water. This meant that our three-man crews had one-guy automatically assigned to the water tender leaving the other two to fight the fire.  So with 12-guys on scene from ECCFPD, four were assigned to water duty because there were no hydrants.

Imagine having the scenario with 2-man crews. It would have been difficult to operate and make a save until additional engines arrive on scene.

Overview:

  • The incident required a total of 26-firefighters.
  • East Contra Costa Fire Engines: 94, 93, 52, 59 + 4 water tenders B/C8 & B/C5
  • Contra Costa Fire Engines: 88 (Antioch), 81 (Antioch), 82 (Antioch)
  • Oakley PD was also on scene

I was kindly provided these photos from the incident. They were taken from a phone camera at night.

Update: 8:45 AM – I drove by the home and snapped some photos this morning showing the damages. What a beautiful piece of property right off Knightsen Avenue.

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Categorised in: East County, ECCFPD, Firefighters, Knightsen

4 Responses »

  1. 26 firefighters???? Yikes!

  2. Saw the glow in the sky that night. Didn’t think it was that big. Sirens woke me up. Glad it did’t spread to other homes or fields.

  3. I was listening to this on the scanner. (Station 94 had a great response time LOL). I could tell that it was nasty when the Battalion Chief advised for all units to park on Knightsen Ave and to walk in to save room for the water tenders. One thing that should also be pointed out is if the water tenders and/or engines needed to refill the water tanks, they had to leave the scene and go to a hydrant. Not sure where the nearest hydrant is. I know that there is one at Knightsen Ave and E. Cypress Rd. This is just another issue that our Fire Dept has to deal with in the rural areas.

  4. Thanks for not only informing the residents of East Contra Costa about these incidents that we would otherwise never hear about, but also educating the citizens about extinguishing these fires and why so many resources are needed.

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