City News Service

Brush Fire Sparked by Bird Catching Fire on Power Line Destroys Family Home

A family was heartbroken Monday after a brush fire sparked by a bird catching fire when it landed on a power line and ripped apart their home in Chino.

"It's gone," said Kaneisha Forrest as she looked at the damage to her family home, gutted by Sunday's brush fire. "To see it like this is very difficult. It's devastating."

Her parents built the home 27 years ago.

Her father Arthur is a well-known dentist in Chino.

Forrest says as smoke billowed out of her family home she tried desperately to flag down firefighters who were around the corner.

"I said, 'please help. Our house is on fire.' And they kept driving and went down to the end of the street and parked. And it took at least another half an hour with our house on fire."

It's unclear how long it took firefighters to arrive, but Forrest says when they did get here they initially couldn't spray down the home because the water pressure suddenly dropped.

A Chino Valley Fire District spokeswoman says at the time too many people were tapping into the main water system, including neighbors who were using garden hoses to spray down their homes.

She also says it's not unusual to lose water pressure during brush fires.

"Think about your home. You have your kitchen sink on, bathroom on and turn on the shower, there's going to be that slight drop in pressure," said Massiel de Guevara, a spokeswoman for the Chino Valley Fire District.

De Guevara says water company officials quickly increased the pressure as soon as they were alerted to the brush fire.

She also says its unclear if firefighters could have saved this home even if the water pressure hadn't dropped.

"We were frustrated because there was not enough water pressure," said Jay Chalam, a resident.

Chalam says despite the drop in water pressure firefighters did everything they could to save hundreds of homes. She is sad that her neighbors home burned, but thankful her home is still standing.

"Whatever the firefighters did for us I am just really grateful," Chalam said.

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