Mayday: 4 Calif. FFs injured in patio roof collapse

Firefighters were battling a blaze at a suspected illegal marijuana grow house when the patio roof collapsed

Richard K. De Atley
San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.

Four firefighters were injured, two of them hospitalized overnight, when a patio roof collapsed on them as they battled a fire in a home in the High Desert town of Phelan that was as an apparent marijuana grow house, a San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman said.

The fire, reported just before 10 p.m. Sunday, was at the home in the 14400 block of Azalea Road when firefighters arrived, San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Mike McClintock said.

The house was more than 3,000 square feet, with a garage off the rear and a breezeway separating the two structures. While the garage was detached, it was near the home, McClintock said.

“Crews were trying to limit the fire’s spread by spraying water from the back patio area, and there was a collapse of a large stucco portion of the (patio) ceiling, that came down on the crews,” he said.

There was a “Mayday — firefighter down” radio call.

“It hit four of our firefighters, briefly trapping one of them, but they were all able to self-rescue or assist each other getting out,” McClintock said. He described the patio roof as an extension from the house. “It was pretty heavy when it came down on our guys,” he said.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene and two had moderate injuries and were taken to a trauma center. They were released from the hospital on Monday morning, McClintock said.

The fire took an hour to control. “Crews that were on the scene did find there was what appeared to be an illegal marijuana grow inside the home and the garage, which added some additional hazards” to fighting the fire, he said.

The damage to the home and garage was extensive, and a fire department bulldozer was used in the cleanup operation, McClintock said. No people were reported in the home at the time of the fire.

“Our fire investigators are working with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to determine cause and origin,” he said.


©2020 the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.)


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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