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.
- 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.