House Fire in Sunland

Firefighters had to wrestle with junk they couldn’t see
in the smoke caused by this house fire in Sunland.

by David DeMullé

 Neighbors help contain the fire.

Neighbors help contain the fire.

A structure fire in the 8200 block of Jayseel Street in Sunland Sunday was made worse by the “excessive storage conditions” found inside the house and the two sheds in the back yard.

When firefighters arrived at the Jayseel incident, the smoke was so thick from the different kinds of materials burning that you couldn’t see where the fire really was. Firefighters went in through the front door to the rear while other firefighters went up on the roof. The smoke was so intense and so dark in some places that they couldn’t see the fire.

Then the fire went weird; where there wasn’t fire before, there was now fire. The place was a filled with so much storage that the firefighters’ water couldn’t penetrate it and had to be pulled apart. Back windows blew out and fire then broke through the roof and at the same time, the smoke cleared a little so that the two sheds

in the back could be seen — on fire. It took saws and axes to get into the sheds only to find that they were packed so tightly that the water couldn’t get into them. For about 10 minutes, visibility was less than three feet in front.

Neighbors manned water hoses to soak down their roofs to protect their houses from the flying

Although the official report stated that the fire was put out within 15 minutes, the thickly packed junk allowed the fire stubbornly continued to re-ignite for another 20 minutes.

There were more than 50 bicycles as well as wood shavings, logs, packing material and junk in the back yard, all of which made it dangerous to walk around in the smoke. One occupant was treated for burns on his feet.

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