Family heirlooms lost in Burney fire that destroyed coop, shed

BURNEY, Calif. — Officials say nobody was injured but many irreplaceable family heirlooms were destroyed after a fire erupted in a Burney chicken coop and spread to a nearby shed and surrounding vegetation Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 29.

Although nobody was injured in the fire, the blaze destroyed the chicken coop, “leaving five chickens homeless and confused as to where to roost for the evening,” Burney Fire Protection District Fire Chief Monte Keady told SCNS in response to an inquiry about yesterday’s fire.


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Firefighters from Burney Fire Protection District and Cal Fire-Shasta were dispatched to a private residence on the 36000 block of Syringa Road near Mariposa Way at 2:21 p.m., after receiving reports of a residential structure fire, according to Chief Keady.

In all, eight firefighters from one Burney Fire engine company, one Cal Fire engine company and a Burney Fire Tender, along with Keady and a Fire Prevention Battalion Commander from Cal Fire responded to the scene.

Firefighters made quick work of knocking down a fire that destroyed a chicken coop and shed. No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, which was caused by a heat lamp from inside the coop. First Image: Jonathan Montgomery/SCNS Staff Photographer, Second Image: Burney Fire Protection District.

First arriving firefighters reported seeing a large plume of black smoke coming from the residence, which is located about a half-mile north of SR-299 and within a few hundred feet of the back of Sierra Pacific Industries mill.

When firefighters arrived they found a chicken coop and nearby shed fully involved and engulfed in flames.

Firefighters managed a quick knock down and Keady reported the fire was fully extinguished and brought under control by 2:40 p.m. Firefighters remained at the scene conducting overhaul operations for about an hour and a half, according to the Chief.

“Although there were some family heirlooms lost in the fire that are beyond dollar value, the dollar loss listed for the fire was about $5,000 for structure and contents,” Keady reported.

While investigating the cause of the fire, officials discovered a charred extension cord that led to a heat lamp set up in the chicken coop and determined that to be the cause of the blaze.

No civilians or firefighters were injured as a result of yesterday’s fire.

A photo snapped at the scene of yesterday’s fire shows a chicken coop and shed that burned to the ground. The fire left five chickens homeless and destroyed several irreplaceable family heirlooms that had been stored inside the shed. Burney Fire Protection District photo

At about the same time as the fire was reported, SPI lost all power to their mill, reportedly leading to a nearly hour-long shutdown. Although it was initially believed the power loss may have been related to the fire, Chief Keady this morning told SCNS, “That information is either a wild rumor or a strange coincidence.”

“The structure fire was near the right-of-way to the high voltage powerline that runs through town and up over Hatchet, and the shed was located very nearly under the domestic power feed for the home,” the Chief explained; adding that although he initially reported that nearby powerlines and wildland were threatened, “No spread occurred to either.”

Despite the fire’s proximity to the two power lines and SPI’s simultaneous loss of power, the Chief said, “I can confirm that no order was given by me to kill the power, and to my knowledge the power was never shut off because of the incident, as there was no need.”

Contacted for more information, SPI had not responded as of this report.


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Chief Keady later used the opportunity to remind area residents “to use precautions when heating outbuildings with any portable electric heat source, especially during these cold months.”

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Trevor Montgomery, 49, 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 30 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 18 grandchildren.