Winters firefighters battle two-alarm blaze at Grant Ave. apartments

Winters firefighters extinguished an apartment complex fire that destroyed two units.
Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Winters Fire Department dispatched a crew of three firefighters on Engine 26 and Fire Chief Brad Lopez to respond to a commercial structure fire at the 208 Grant Ave. apartment complex on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 2:43 p.m. In an email to the Express, Lopez said upon arrival at the scene there was a heavy fire and smoke extending from the first floor apartment unit up to the unit above on the second floor, and it was unclear if there were anyone inside either of the apartment units. Due to the amount of fire, its intensity and how quickly it spread to the upstairs unit the crew requested a second alarm and initiated fire attack and search and rescue of both apartments. Lopez said firefighters spent approximately 18 minutes providing for life safety rescue and fire suppression before the second engine from West Plainfield arrived on scene. “As Fire Chief, I was concerned for my firefighters and civilian safety. This was a rather complex and rapid developing fire and we had very limited resources, and I knew it would be a while before we would see any of our mutual aid resources arriving to assist,” said Lopez. As the WFD crew took action waiting for assistance from other fire departments, Winters Police Departments officers and civilians helped to pull the fire hose to a hydrant 150 feet way for a water supply. Lopez said having weather temperatures in the 90s placed strain on firefighters both mentally and physically as they worked to extinguish the flames. It took firefighters 35 minutes to bring the fire under control. The fire crew spent an additional three hours securing hot spots, checking for extension and salvaging owners personal belongings.  “Despite the elements being stacked against us initially, our firefighters and assisting agencies did an amazing job at containing this fire, ensuring folks were evacuated and conducting a search on both apartments,” said Lopez. Lopez said while there were no injuries, the two apartment units were destroyed by the fire. “It’s difficult to walk away in circumstances like these feeling like we did a good job when those affected have to figure out how they will recover, where will they go, where will they live, how they will restore their losses and provide for their families moving forward,” said Lopez. Winters community members rallied across social media platform asking for ways to help the two families who lost their homes and belongings in the fire. Community member Cheryl Moore is currently collecting gift cards for local restaurants, retail stores (like Target and Kohls) and gas cards at the Treehouse Children’s Center to disperse to the families. Gift cards can be dropped off during business hours at The Treehouse Children’s Center (418 Haven St.) Monday through Friday between 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Questions regarding these support efforts can be directed to Moore by calling 530-902-1083 or sending an email to “Something I have always been proud of is our community support,” said Lopez. “Immediately community members began offering support and communicating on social media on how they could come together and help these families. This is our community. This is Winters.” According to Lopez, initial reports from dispatch indicated the blaze was due to a possible dryer fire. However, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. In addition to the seven to 10 volunteer firefighters who arrived to assist with the fire, WFD received assistance from allied agencies and mutual aid partners; Winters PD, UC Davis Fire, West Plainfield Fire, Yocha Dehe Fire, Yolo Fire, Vacaville Fire District, Vacaville City Fire, Dixon Fire, CAL FIRE and American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance who responded for medical standby for firefighters on the scene. Lopez said structure fires are not common in Winters, but they still have a high risk of injury and/or fatalities to firefighters and civilians. He said smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives, while residential fire sprinklers aid in minimizing damage costs.]]>

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