Crime - Sacto 911

Two-alarm fire in North Highlands damages two homes, outbuilding

Video: Georgia Drive house fire

Courtesy Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District @metrofirepio
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Courtesy Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District @metrofirepio

A North Highlands home sustained major damage from a fire that spread to a second house and to an outbuilding of another residence Tuesday afternoon.

No residents of the affected homes were hurt, but two firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, said Capt. Michelle Eidam, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokeswoman. One firefighter was taken to UC Davis Medical Center with burns, and the other suffered muscular injuries. In addition, she said, a battalion chief and trainee were involved in a collision en route to the fire.

Eidam said the fire was discovered about 1:40 p.m. by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies on patrol, who spotted smoke and went to the house in the 5800 block of Georgia Drive, north of Madison Avenue, between Roseville Road and Watt Avenue. Two people were inside the single-story house and were unaware that their home was on fire. Eidam said deputies helped them out of the house, and fire crews arrived about a minute later.

When firefighters arrived, they found the house engulfed in flames. The fire also had spread to the eaves of a house next door. A second alarm was issued, and crews attacked the fires at both residences, while working to keep it from spreading to other homes.

The house where the fire began suffered significant damage, Eidam said. The cause and origin of the fire were under investigation.

Damage to the neighboring house was limited to the roof and attic, Eidam said. The outbuilding, in the backyard of a residence on Karl Drive, behind the house where the fire started, sustained exterior damage.

Fire officials said total damage is estimated at $160,000. The Red Cross was asked to provide assistance to five displaced residents.

Eidam said there was “a lot of stuff” in the house where the fire began, which made fighting the blaze difficult, as did downed power lines outside the residence.

Firefighters found a suspicious device in one of the backyards. Residents of five homes closest to the site were evacuated, along with fire crews, until it was determined that the device was inert, according to a fire district news release.

Further complicating the firefighting efforts, Eidam said, were people who saw the smoke and drove to the area to take photos. Spectators and their vehicles blocked streets. Law enforcement officers had to intervene to get the vehicles moved to make way for fire engines, Eidam said.

Although Eidam said she understood the desire to take photos of fires, she urged people to park vehicles out of the roadway and away from the firefighting activity and access routes.

The collision involving a battalion chief responding to assist with the fire occurred when the fire vehicle was stopped for a traffic light, and was hit by a vehicle trying to get around traffic, Eidam said. The battalion chief and a passenger were not injured, while the other motorist suffered minor injuries, she said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy