Family, nearby church saved after Burney house blaze

BURNEY — Firefighters battling a Burney residential fire managed to extinguish the blaze, while also saving other nearby homes and structures, as well as an adjacent church that were threatened by the late-night fire, Monday evening, Feb. 18.

Despite quickly knocking down the blaze the fire left the home uninhabitable, displacing at least one adult and a child, along with their pets; one of which was rescued from the burning home by responding firefighters, according to officials.


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Burney Fire Protection District was first alerted to the blaze just before 10 p.m., after receiving reports of a residential structure fire on the 20400 block of Poplar St., Burney Fire Protection District Chief Monte Keady told SCNS the morning after the fire.

911 callers reported flames and thick smoke could be seen billowing from the home’s roof and that the occupants from the residence had already managed to escape the growing blaze.

Although firefighters quickly knocked down a residential blaze, the home was left uninhabitable due to extensive damage throughout the residence.

Responding from their fire station just a quarter-mile away, firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes of the dispatched call.

As firefighters arrived at the scene they reported seeing flames shooting 20 to 30 feet in the air, lighting the nighttime sky and drawing out numerous nearby residents.

While firefighters began setting up for an aggressive attack on the blaze, they reported the back side of the home was engulfed in flames, which were threatening the garage as well as the nearby First Baptist Church of Burney.

Due to the size of the fire and imminent threat to other homes and nearby structures, local firefighters requested assistance, at which time Cal Fire-Shasta, Fall River Mills Fire Protection District, and Shasta County Volunteers from Cassel Fire Company were dispatched to assist the two Burney Fire Protection District engines in battling the fire, according to Keady.

While other fire crews were responding to the area, BFPD firefighters quickly positioned hoses between the fire and the threatened buildings and began spraying water on the open fire, according to Keady; who said, “This reduced the threat to the neighboring buildings and exposed the fire in the attack of the home.”

“Armed with hoses, pike poles, and power saws, crews fought the hidden fire in the attic and walls in the back of the house,” Keady continued.

As crews continued battling the blaze and were removing burning furniture from the home, they found the owner’s frightened dog that had re-entered the burning structure during the fire. Firefighters quickly rescued the terrified pup, carrying it out of the burning home and returning it to its grateful owner.

Once firefighters extinguished the blaze and began inspecting the damaged home they discovered heavy smoke damage had occurred throughout the home, with major damage extending to the entire roof and support beams, as well as the contents of the two back rooms, the fire chief reported.

Although firefighters’ efforts saved the church, Keady told SCNS, “Radiant heat did cause one of the boards on the church to ignite, causing minor damage.”

Firefighters remained overnight at the scene of the blaze that left a home heavily damaged and unlivable, ensuring the fire did not re-ignite.

Once the blaze was knocked down, a woman who was home with her child told officials she was in the front yard of her home when she “heard crackling in the back,” reported Keady.

“It sounded like someone was breaking up branches.” the victim told firefighters; saying, “It turns out that was the sound of the fire.”

“Before she could investigate the source of the noise the power dimmed and went out,” explained Keady; saying, “She discovered heat and flames, quickly grabbed her child and the animals, and exited the building.”

During their subsequent investigation, fire prevention officers determined the source of the blaze was a hot tub located on the back patio.

No firefighters or citizens were injured as a result of the blaze, according to Keady; who later estimated the fire caused about $120,000 in damage to the residence and placed the loss of the home’s contents at $30,000.

Due to the damage and loss of power caused by the fire, the occupants were displaced and not able to stay in the damaged home, according to Keady.

The morning after the fire, family friend James Herington told SCNS that a nearby neighbor would be allowing the displaced victims to stay at his home until other arrangements could be made.

“Thank God for our local firemen, they are truly amazing,” said Herington.

Robin Montgomery/SCNS video

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Burney Fire Protection District photos above

Robin Montgomery/SCNS photos above

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Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; 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 29 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 16 grandchildren.