This 2,000 square foot house at St. Anton and Target in Pine Mountain was destroyed in a two-alarm fire that was fully involved by 2:50 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. Firefighters from Pine Mountain, Frazier Park, Lebec, Mettler, Gorman and Lockwood Valley responded to the blaze, and the cascade of embers flowing down the hill behind it (toward St. Anton). Fire departments from Los Angeles County, KernCounty and the U.S. Forest Service sent 23 firefighters to help.[Hedlund Photos above and in slide show]
By Patric Hedlund
At 2:55 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 the glow in the misty sky above Target and St. Anton in Pine Mountain caught the attention of Stan Enscoe of Pine Mountain Patrol.
“I thought it was a UFO at first,” he said, looking up from the area of the golf course on Mil Portrero Highway toward the houses off of Matterhorn.
By 3 a.m. the 2000 square foot house at 1927 Target Place owned by Michael Ziebell of Santa Barbara was fully involved in 80 foot flames. A patrol and pumper truck from Pine Mountain’s Station 58 were on scene shortly after.
Two firefighters with hoses isolated the fire area, protecting surrounding homes as neighbors looked on. The Mountain Enterprise was on scene by 3:10 a.m. A cascade of embers flowed downhill from the back of the burning home toward St. Anton.
Fortunately there was no wind. “The temperature is low and the humidity is high,” Enscoe observed.
Members of the Martinez family, from across the street, informed firefighters that the house had been under renovation for “a couple of years,” and that workers with power tools doing some painting had been there at about 11 a.m. Friday, but that there were no vehicles at the house by the afternoon. It is believed that no one was in the home at the time of the fire.
By 3:30 a.m. Engines 56 and 57 from Frazier Park and Lebec were assisting to extinguish the ember shower. Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Engine 77 from Gorman arrived, along with personnel from Mettler’s Engine 55 by 4 a.m. when the flames in the home were suppressed and dark smoke began to settle over the area. A U.S. Forest Service truck also assisted, a total of 23 personnel in all.
The house was burned to the ground, but there were no injuries and no other structures were damaged. The Kern County Fire Department estimates the loss was about $350,000.
They report the cause of the fire is still under investigation but taking caution to place rags used in painting and staining into air-tight containers is always advised. “Please be sure that you have working smoke detectors and make sure all possible ignition sources are eliminated prior to leaving your home,” a KCFD spokesperson said.
—Gary Meyer assisted with this report
This is part of the November 27, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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