At 2:42 pm Sunday, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District firefighters were dispatched to a report of a vegetation fire which turned into a 3-alarm fire response off the 2100 block of Piedmont Way in the City of Pittsburg.
The fire caused an immediate large column of black smoke into the air which crossed Highway 4 and upon arrival of firefighters, a 2-alarm response was requested by 2:53 pm. By 3:25 pm, a 3-alarm response was requested.
At least one firefighter was injured and treated for smoke inhalation and later transported to a local hospital.
By 4:05 pm, the fire was deemed under control.
According to Steve Hill, Contra Costa County Fire spokesperson, the fire was started from a homeless encampment on the north side of the yard at Elite Roofing Supply Company.
Hill stated that although there was a large column of smoke, firefighters prevented the fire from reaching the building. Instead, it burned vegetation that entered the yard and caught multiple outbuildings on fire, burned roofing supply equipment such as PVC pipe, insulation, and a number of vehicles including fork lifts and trailers.
The fire also caused multiple spot fires in the area that were quickly extinguished in an area full of commercial buildings.
“This is a great case for creating defensible space,” said Hill. “A lot of these fires we get to quick and keep them quick, in this case, there was no wiggle room, it burned immediately into roofing supply company so there was no chance of catching it.”
Hill added that a very high number of grass fires lately have started in or near homeless camps in East Contra Costa County and was looking into data saying it was close to around 50% and should have the data in the coming weeks.