12-Acre Fire in Jurupa Valley Burns Multiple Structures, Prompts School Evacuation

A fire breaks out in Jurupa Valley and prompts the a shelter-in-place order at Van Buren Elementary School

By Melissa Pamer and Tony Shin
|  Friday, May 3, 2013  |  Updated 6:35 AM PDT
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The Van Buren fire in the Jurupa Valley destroyed two homes and damaged two others. Residents in the community have offered support to those who lost their homes in the blaze, one of three wildfires ravaging Southern California. Tony Shin reports from Jurupa Valley for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on May 2, 2013.

Tony Shin

The Van Buren fire in the Jurupa Valley destroyed two homes and damaged two others. Residents in the community have offered support to those who lost their homes in the blaze, one of three wildfires ravaging Southern California. Tony Shin reports from Jurupa Valley for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on May 2, 2013.

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A 12-acre vegetation fire on Thursday destroyed multiple structures and prompted an evacuation order at an elementary school in Jurupa Valley, officials said.

The blaze was likely sparked by a discarded cigarette, according to Riverside County Fire Department Capt. Scott Visyak.

"The cause of the fire was determined by CAL FIRE Investigators to be a discarded hot object, most likely a cigarette," the department said in its 1:23 p.m. update on the blaze.

Officials with the Riverside County Fire Department said students at Van Buren Elementary School were evacuated to Mira Loma Middle School. Evacuations were also ordered at a nearby Chevon station.

The blaze was 50 percent contained as of about 11:15 a.m., when it had grown from 5 acres to 12 acres. It was full contained by 2 p.m.

Dubbed the "Van Buren Fire," the blaze was reported at 8:24 a.m. and comes as massive wildfires were burning elsewhere in Southern California.

The fire was contained at 12 acres at about noon.

Two homes burned and two others were damaged, while five outbuildings were destroyed, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. Ten vehicles were detroyed, as was one boat.

The flames were driven by wind across a dry, grassy field toward the structures.

The homeowners of one destroyed home approached their property, crying. They began to sob as a firefighter tried to console them.

"That house is everything to us," said homeowner Diane Delaney. "We've been there seven years in July and everything we have is in there."

She said the shorts and T-shirt she was wearing was all the remained of her clothing.

She and her husband were, however, reunited with two of their four pets that had been rescued by animal services workers.

The initial location of the fire was reported as Van Buren Boulevard and Jurupa Road (map), according to the Riverside County Fire Department. The fire started in the center divider.


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