Wednesday, July 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

5-acre fire causes big blackout

By
From page A1 | July 03, 2013 |

DSC_4667 ec

FLAMES – Allen Beck, manager of El Dorado Nursery and Garden on Durock Road, keeps water on hot spots as flames rise in the neighboring property. The fire broke out near a PG&E substation, blacking out power to thousands and closing Highway 50. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

A fire on Durock Road in Shingle Springs burned 5 acres Monday afternoon, affecting a nursery and PG&E power substation and causing power outages countywide.

The fire was reported at 4:03 p.m. when a part fell off of a car on Highway 50, sparking the blaze, said Cal Fire’s Teri Mizuhara. “It was a critical area, with the power station,” she said.

Soon after, Durock Road and Highway 50 in both directions were closed and fire engines and crews were pouring in. A bulldozer worked to push down trees to stop the spread of the fire to El Dorado Nursery; it still burned piles of material including playground fiber and bark.

Two planes circled overhead, one an air attack eye-in-the-sky, the other a tanker. The tanker was soon called off as it would be unable  to accurately drop without potentially hitting the substation.

The substation was still affected by the fire, taking some damage. “There was arcing from power lines to the metal highway fence, sparking more fires,” said Cameron Park Fire Captain Grant Ingram.

Meanwhile, the fire caused multiple transformers to blow, along with a nearby propane tank venting, said Mark Brunton of Cal Fire.

Kathleen McGinnis, who lives across the street from the nursery, heard the transformers. “I smelled smoke and there was a ‘kaboom,’” she said. She put out a small fire and told her husband, Dave, and friend Randy Mayer to come help. They grabbed hoses and hopped the fence to fight the fire, she said.

“It was so fast of a thing,” Mayer said,”it was unbelievable.”

Brendan Wilce, an employee of the nursery, described hearing three or four “pops” as the transformers exploded. He also had to put out a small, 10-inch-diameter spot fire caused by falling embers. Another spot fire, about 30 feet in diameter, also popped up that he and manager Al Beck fought while firefighters sped in, ground crews marching along the road.

“They were 12-to-18-inch flames,” Wilce said. “It spread very quick once it got going.” He noted the goats on the property hid behind the goat pen.

No damage was done to structures, but power was cut to about 49,000 people across the county, PG&E spokeswoman Jana Morris said.

“That includes homes and businesses,” she noted.

The power was out from 4:19 p.m. after they “de-engergized two lines per Cal Fire’s request.” This “persevered the integrity of the infrastructure,” she said, allowing them to get power on sooner. De-energizing lines is a common tactic with fires, she said, as it lessens damage to the network. At 9:09 p.m., the last 1,650 customers had power restored.

Brunton noted the power was out “from the El Dorado County Line to the summit, to Amador County and to Georgetown.”

Highway 50 was closed both ways, with the fire nearing the highway. A helicopter hovered over the burn just before 6 p.m., providing assistance, with the majority of the fire having been contained but still burning. Traffic was backed up well into El Dorado Hills from the Ponderosa exit.

Mizuhara said that “911 was hammered with calls by folks on oxygen,” she said, as people were running out and required a refill. Jamie Morgan and his crew from the Office of Emergency Services with the county set up cooling stations that also refilled oxygen tanks, she said. “There are many seniors who can’t handle the heat.”

The fire was officially contained by 8:31 p.m. Cal Fire, El Dorado County Fire, El Dorado Hills Fire, Diamond Springs Fire, Rescue Fire, Latrobe Fire, Georgetown Fire, Cameron Park Fire and the U.S. Forest Service all responded to the conflagration.

Comments

comments

.

News

Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

 
Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

 
Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
.

Sports

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

 
Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

 
Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

 
Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

 
My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

 
En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8