Steve Josue and his son Steve Josue Jr. sat at an outside table at the Pirate’s Lair Cafe waiting for breakfast as some of their neighbors sat nearby. All were quiet. And all shared the same exhausted expression and sooty ankles.
They were the among those who returned Friday to homes they fled after a vegetation fire the day before burned through the Korth’s Pirates Lair Marina housing complex on Andrus Island, destroying seven residences and damaging six others. No one was injured. The complex has 50 manufactured homes, occupied by year-round and part-time residents.
Those whose homes were damaged sifted through debris Friday as firefighters cleaned and inspected the area.
The blaze broke out behind a set of houses around 4:15 p.m. and crowned on the front of the complex before spreading through several neighboring residences, according to Ken Jenkins of River Delta Fire District. The fire’s cause was still under investigation.
Josue Jr. was was driving into the complex when he saw the fire. He ran to help neighbors douse the flames from their roofs. But when the home he shares with his father and stepmother was threatened by the fire, he rushed there.
“I ripped (my stepmother) out of there and then went to save my drums,” he said. The family’s Jeep, parked outside the restaurant, was piled high with their belongings, including a television, clothes and Josue Sr.’s guitar.
Firefighters stopped the flames before they could reach the family’s home.
“I’m the only one who slept at home” on Thursday night, Josue Sr. said. “I felt I had to protect my property.” His wife and son returned home Friday.
Firefighters from Solano and Walnut Grove were among those who helped contain the fire, said Jenkins. Local residents also helped stop the the blaze from damaging more homes.
“They pulled out their hoses and brought out tractors,” Jenkins said. “This could have been a lot worse.”
Gary Wadkins’ home was saved by next-door neighbor John Newberry, who asked firefighters to focus on Wadkins’ home while his was still ablaze. Newberry’s house, which had been recently put up for sale, was destroyed.
“His summer home is gone,” Wadkins said. “But thanks to him, me and my cat, Kiki, are OK.”