Updated Friday @ 0736 (below):
Desert Heights, Twentynine Palms – This afternoon a home near Pole Line & Lear was completely destroyed. Homeowner Richard Hill at 69079 Pole Line had fire insurance but, said he, “I lost my four dogs; they were my family.” Hill was not home at the time, but one of his tenants was there when the fire started.
Fire Chief Thomson at the scene said, “The tenant was a parolee and he fled the scene.” Chief Thomson reported that a witness near the home “saw a male tenant spraying the house with a garden hose but dropped the hose and split before the first fire Unit from the Lear Station arrived.” Said the Chief, the sheriff caught up with the tenant-parolee afterwards.
The 29 Palms Fire Department from the Lear Fire Station Unit 422 was on the scene within six minutes, said Chief Thomson. He added “The fire was put out in 10 minutes. Chief Thomson said “investigators were coming out” to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Further, I saw the flames earlier from my home — to the West a 1 1/2 miles away. The fire was licking the blue sky and heavy black smoke was billowing hundreds of feet upward.
Updated, Saturday Morning @ 0715 – The fire began at 1:30 while the homeowner was away from home for an hour. There is no official report from the Sheriff’s Arson Investigation unit on the cause of this fire. However, the homeowner speculated at the scene that “a fire in the electric stove blew up.”
Richard Hill said that he had taken on a tenant about two weeks ago, and it is evidenced by an eyewitness that the tenant did in fact attempt to put out the fire as described above, but apparently the oxygen-fed raging flames consumed the house in a short time (the exterior of the home was stucco).
Chief Thomson reported that ten firefighters were on the scene, two fire engine units from 29 Palms, and one unit from the Marine Base responded.
Footnote: I asked Chief Thomson to speculate that should H&I fire tax Measure fail, and if this fire had occurred, how would this have played out. The Chief said the homeowner’s RV would have been lost and a slab would all that was left since the home was consumed in ten minutes.
Note it could be a matter of life or death for those whom live in the city limits and the unincorporated areas of 29 Palms as good cause for voting yes on Measure H&I.
See acrimonious comments-opinions below by this contributor concerning the need for a yes vote on Measure H&I, and the behavior of the City Council and its City Attorney.