Family displaced by LQ blaze that destroyed one home, damaged another

LA QUINTA — More than five dozen firefighters spent about two hours knocking down a swift-moving blaze that erupted at a large property in the unincorporated community of La Quinta yesterday afternoon, March 26. One of two homes on the property was destroyed by the fire, but firefighters managed to save the other structure – although not without significant damage.

Four adults were displaced and one elderly victim was hospitalized with difficulty breathing after the destructive blaze, which was reported in the 62000 block of Jackson St., between Avenues 53 and 54.

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Fifty-five Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters from fifteen engine companies and a truck company were dispatched to fight the blaze around 215 p.m., Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson Tawny Cabral later said in an incident report. They were assisted by two water tenders, a Breathing Support Unit, and Imperial Irrigation District.

CHP’s H60 also responded to the area, and the aviation crew was soon providing critical updates about the fire’s spread to firefighters on the ground.

CHP’s H60 assisted with yesterday’s firefighting efforts by providing critical updates to firefighters on the ground.

“The first engine company that arrived found two structures well involved, with at least a half-dozen palm trees and a spot of vegetation on the southwest corner of the property,” Cal Fire Cpt. Fernando Herrera reported from the scene of the still active incident.

“An aggressive attack was launched by the first arriving engine companies that held the first structure to check … and firefighters were able to save that structure with moderate damage,” Herrera later explained. “The second structure was consumed completely by the fire.”

Herrera also reported that firefighters “were able to stop the forward spread of the fire,” and kept the blaze from “extending further into undeveloped, open vegetation area.”

As the fire was still burning, Cabral updated around 3:40 that AMR transported one victim by ground ambulance to an area hospital with minor injuries, which Herrera later described as difficulty breathing.

Cabral reported that firefighters managed to knock the blaze down about two hours later, just after 4 p.m., but resources remained at the scene for several more hours conducting mop up and overhaul operations.

Cabral also reported that firefighters at the scene estimated yesterday’s fire loss at about $100,000, but said firefighters’ efforts saved an estimated $300,000 worth of property and personal belongings.

The cause of yesterday’s fire is still under Investigation.

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Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire photos

Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department video

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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