Two major fires erupt in Orland area on Sunday

Firefighters from several departments work to extinguish a structure fire on County Road 21 south of Orland on Sunday. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

By Larry Judkins

Glenn County Observer

“This could have gotten a whole lot uglier.”

This was the observation of Hamilton City Fire Chief Dan James at the scene of a structure fire south of Orland on Sunday, Oct. 17.

At about 1 p.m., the Orland Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire at 6433 County Road 21.

This residence is located between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.

This section of Road 21 dead ends at I-5, and 6433 is located near the west end of the road, near the freeway.

As a structure burns in the background, Orland firefighter Dusty Lefdal douses the still-burning items near him. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

There are several homes in close proximity to one another along this stretch of County Road 21. Late Sunday morning and early afternoon, there was a strong breeze coming from the south, blowing ashes and embers across the road and onto the property of the residence directly to the north.

The fire could have easily spread to other properties.

These conditions are undoubtedly what Chief James was referring to when he said things could have gotten a whole lot uglier.

Immediately after the first Orland Fire Department units arrived on the scene, they began calling for mutual aid.

Among the fire departments that responded were Artois, Hamilton City, Capay, Willows Rural, and Glenn-Codora.

Westside Ambulance was also on-scene for a while, and PG&E showed up to shut off the power to the property.

A neighbor later commented, “We live nearby and heard a very loud explosion when [the fire] started.”

Three vehicles destroyed by the fire can be seen through the smoke on County Road 21, shortly before it ends at Interstate 5. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

The fire completely reduced the property to charred rubble. At least three vehicles were also destroyed.

Firefighters were at the scene for hours. Then, a little after 6 p.m., another call went out to the Orland Fire Department.

This one was for a fire in the bed of Stony Creek, in about the same place where an arson fire started early Saturday evening, Oct. 9.

In fact, just as before, the fire was located north of the continuation school on Roosevelt Avenue.

Again, mutual aid from nearby fire departments was called in. Unlike the fire from about a week earlier, this time firefighters were helped by a light rain that was falling in the area.

Firefighters were at the scene until about 9:30 p.m., when it was announced cleanup was complete for the night, but Orland firefighters would be returning Monday morning.

The cause of either of Sunday’s fires was not yet known to The Glenn County Observer.


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