Mineral County and Walker Lake Fire Departments stayed busy over the last week responding to about a half-dozen blazes. The fires included a Hawthorne Heights residence, wild land fires and a hay fire in the Gabbs Valley.
On July 25 firefighters responded to a fire at Hawthorne Heights. “We showed up first on scene with a fully involved mobile home. The sheriff’s department arrived as well and did a kick-and-shout for inhabitants. No one responded,” said Mineral County Fire Chief T.C. Knight.
The home did not have a nearby fire hydrant, so Knight called for a tanker. The Walker Lake department supplied water from their engine to a Hawthorne engine.
The departments had just secured the residence utilities and determined the structure had no inhabitants when an unexpected event happened: “The house vented due to the heat, and all the windows blew out. Fire shot out from every window and it was pretty stressful for a moment,” said Knight.
Knight commended the very good response from all the involved units including the Walker Lake Fire Department. “We had two trucks with four attack lines going. We basically had it covered from all four angles, and we had the fire knocked down within minutes,” he said.
Knight added that all four walls of the residence still stand although the home suffered extensive damage. He added that the owners of the home presently reside in Arizona, and the house had very few belongings left inside.
Knight said the department conducted a brief investigation that determined the fire originated on the front porch of the home. Knight also said the extreme heat of the fire destroyed virtually any evidence pointing to the cause of the fire. The cause of the fire is yet undetermined.
Walker Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief B.J. Foster added: “People need to think about fire safety – especially in mobile homes.” Foster suggested having a professional electrician examine the wiring. Foster also said the incident was a good reminder for people to practice fire safety.
“The more fires we can prevent, the less fires we have to fight,” added Knight.
Knight said the department responded to a wild land fire close to New Bomb on July 19, a dumpster fire behind Joe’s Tavern on July 20, and a hay fire at the Diamond A ranch in the Gabbs Valley on July 24.
“Myself and an engine crew of four fought a big bale hay fire on the 24th,” Knight said. “These were big bales, stacked five high, 40 long and three rows. The fire was between the first and second rows. That was a long and atrocious night,” Knight said
The ensuing investigation determined the fire resulted from spontaneous combustion. The rancher estimated the hay damage at $40,000 to $50,000.