Smoke alarm saves residents, old home

Early detection allowed firefighters to limit attic fire damage of 100-year-old home and contents

VISALIA – Aging electrical wiring ignited a fire that nearly burned down a 100-year-old home last week. Luckily, it was saved by a more recently installed electronic device, a smoke detector.

At 11:23 a.m. on Tuesday, May 5, a smoke alarm went off in the home at 305 N. Park St. alerting the residents that there may be a fire. The Visalia Fire Department sent an engine to the home, and the fire officer quickly determined that the smell of smoke was coming from the attic. Two additional engines, two ladder trucks and a battalion chief responded and firefighters located a smoldering fire in the attic space over the kitchen. Sixteen firefighters battled the blaze and extinguished the fire in about 90 minutes.

The crack assessment of the attic fire by the officer and quick work by firefighters limited the fire to just $10,000 in structural damage, saving more than $200,000 in damage of the century-old home. There was $1,000 worth of damage to the contents but there were no injuries as a result of this fire.

Fire burns 22 acres near shopping center

Locals have become accustomed to making the best of a bad situation, and the Visalia Fire Department is no different.

Just before 5 p.m. on May 7, the Visalia Fire Department responded to a grass fire on the north side of Cameron Avenue across from the Packwood Creek Shopping Center. Firefighters arrived to find a 100-foot by 100-foot fire in a large open field of grass. Twenty-five firefighters acted quickly to protect the Surf Thru Express Car Wash, 1640 W. Cameron Ave., with four engines and one truck. They also called in a brush engine from Cal Fire due to the size of the blaze and were able to control the fire within an hour.

The fire ultimately became a controlled burn to clear 22 acres of dry weeds heading into fire season.

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