Firefighters from across the county battled strong winds whipping through the area Tuesday morning to keep a Brentwood house fire from spreading to nearby homes.
Red flag conditions including strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity were already present when a fire ignited on the exterior of a home on the 800 block on Nicholas Court shortly after 8 a.m. The first units from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) arrived to find the house at the end of the court ablaze. Wind blowing out of the northwest was casting embers into the yards of other homes in the neighborhood.
Additional units from the Contra Costa Fire Protection District were dispatched almost immediately to the scene, and off-duty ECCFPD firefighters were recalled, officials said. A mutual aid request brought a county task force that had been prepositioned to allow a rapid response due to the elevated risk of fire. Some crews were assigned to fight the fire, while others prevented the fire from spreading to surrounding homes.
“They were able to contain the fire to the house of origin with no other structures damaged,” Aubert said. “They did have some exterior belongings that were damaged, but there were no other structures damaged, and there were no injuries.” One resident was displaced as a result of the fire, officials said.
The house was a total loss. ECCFPD Fire Marshal Steve Aubert estimated the value of the loss at about $330,000.
“The wind was wild, but we had a lot of resources – mutual aid included – which no doubt saved at least two neighborhoods,” said ECCFPD Battalion Chief Gil Guerrero.
A number of nearby homes were evacuated by police officers.
“As you could imagine with the windy conditions, this fire was very unpredictable,” said Lt. Walter O’Grodnick of the Brentwood Police Department. “Out of an abundance of caution for surrounding residents, our officers quickly assisted fire personnel with evacuations and street closures, allowing fire personnel to focus on containment. Roadways were reopened and evacuation orders were lifted at around 10:40 a.m.”
Units from Cal Fire’s Marsh Creek Road station provided coverage for the district while all resources were occupied on Nicholas Court.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, though investigators are looking at the possibility of an electrical problem as the source. “We say small fires can turn into pretty big fires during red flag conditions,” Aubert said.