At 3:26 pm Sunday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District responded to a report of a residential structure fire in the Town of Knightsen in the 6100 block of Sellers Road.
Originally, Engine 93 was responding to a medical call on Picasso Drive when they noticed smoke coming from the Knightsen area. They requested Engine 59 for a smoke investigation. As Engine 59 was responding, they nearly left the station before the structure fire was requested. Battalion Chief 5 immediately requested all units respond with their water tenders minus station 93 who was on another call.
According to radio traffic, the ECCFPD Battalion Chief arrived on scene to a fully involved garage with a car on fire in the driveway. Shortly after, the fire spread into the attic while he reported wires were down which delayed fire attack on a side of the home.
By 3:35, firefighters were forced to go defensive on the fire to protect neighboring structures. By 4:00 pm, firefighters began interior attack and reported heavy mop up. By this time, PG&E still was not on scene for the wires down. By 4:23 pm, Battalian 5 reported PG&E was on scene and fire was knocked down.
Jeff Burris, Battalion Chief for the ECCFPD, stated the fire began after the homeowner went for a ride on his Harley Davidson Motorcycle. As he returned, he parked the motorcycle in the garage and knocked it over spilling some fuel. As he picked it up, more fuel spilled and it caught fire.
“Contra Costa Fire Engine 88 in Antioch saved us on this call. They were in a great position to assist and I am thankful for them being there because a portion of the home was able to be saved. Our guys did an incredible job,” said Burris. “The only reason a portion of the home was spared was because the crew from Engine 88 started a trench in the roof. There is still significant damage, but it was not a total loss as the bedrooms were spared.”
Burris says that due to quick responses by the water tenders, they were able to get water onto the fire. Engine 88’s water in its tank played a significant role in the fire attack because the two closest engines with water were coming from Brentwood and Discovery Bay.
Due to the location, Burris says water being a available was a huge concern and that luckily they did not run out of water.
PG&E was delayed to respond which handicapped firefighters who could not attack the fire from one direction while the other side of the home had a propane tank. Due to the heat, wires dropped and melted a basketball hoop.
Burris stressed the firefighters did an excellent job all around and everyone was able to get out of the house and the stars aligned.
“We got lucky and the guys did an excellent job all around,” said Burris.
When asked if closed Station 94 (Knightsen) would have made a difference if it was open, Burris said absolutely.
“It would have meant a water tender immediately on scene putting water on the home and three extra firefighters,” explained Burris. “It probably would have not gotten into the attic and extended as far as it did. It likely would have been only a garage fire.”
Burris did not have an estimated total damage, but said the garage was a total loss with fire damage to the attic, kitchen area and living room. He said the ventilation by E88 saved the rest of the home.
While ECCFPD units were on this call, CALFIRE responded to a medical call in Brentwood and a medical call in Oakley.
East Contra Costa Fire Crews were on scene until 8:00 pm with two Contra Costa County Fire engines released around 6:00 pm.