Busy day for county firefighters

By Larry Judkins

Glenn County Observer

County firefighters were kept very busy with two separate vehicle fires and a major structure fire in the afternoon and evening of Thursday, Aug. 18.

The first incident, reported as a vehicle fire with a structure threatened, was dispatched at about 3 p.m.

The general location was initially given as the area of County Roads 20 and MM. A more precise location was soon given as 6718 County Road 20.

Orland firefighters were dispatched first. Minutes later, the Artois Fire Department was also called to the scene.

Upon arrival, the firefighters found a GMC Sierra on fire. Flames came close to the nearby structure where the pickup was parked, and they did in fact reach some trees just to the north of the truck.

The flames beneath the GMC Sierra refused to go out. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

It appears that the GMC had a fuel leak near the engine compartment, which caught fire after the pickup was parked. The burning fuel then spread to the vegetation to the north.

Conventional means (water and foam) were not completely successful in extinguishing the flames under the truck. Eventually, a forklift provided by a neighbor was employed to lift up the GMC so that the firefighters could directly spray the fire on the underside of the pickup.

With the help of a forklift, the GMC was able to be lifted up so that firefighters could extinguish the flames under the pickup. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

The firefighters were at the scene for about an hour or more. Then, at about 6 p.m., a residential structure fire was reported on Sonoma Street near Oak Street in Willows.

The Willows Fire Department was dispatched first. Then, the Orland, Artois, and Bayliss Fire Departments were called to render mutual aid.

The house was the home of the family of Juan and Letty Iniguez. They were able to escape without injury, but their home was a complete loss.

The Red Cross was contacted to assist the residents. Relatives also set up a GoFundMe account to help them (https://www.gofundme.com/f/juan-and-letty-iniguez-get-back-on-their-feet).

The Willows Fire Department also thanked the Willows Walmart for donating several packages of towels. “The extremely hot weather we’ve been having lately makes for miserable firefighting conditions, and being able to drape a towel soaked in cold water around our necks makes a massive difference,” a firefighter commented.

Roughly three hours into the structure fire, a report was received of another vehicle fire, this one a fully involved passenger vehicle on Highway 99 near County Road 48. The Bayliss Volunteer Fire Department responded to this incident, with Willows firefighters also responding as they gradually began to be released from the structure fire.

By about 9:30 p.m. or so, all fire personnel were released from both major incidents. The Willows Fire Department extended “our greatest appreciation to Orland Fire Department, Bayliss Volunteer Fire Department, and Artois Volunteer Fire Department for their assistance this evening, as well as all others who came to help.”

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