HEMET: Raging RV fire and multiple reports of explosions rock residents

UPDATE: 12/12/2016 10:14 p.m. With video report from scene (See below.)


HEMET – A recreational vehicle fire and multiple reports of explosions caused a flood of citizens to call 911 to report the blaze Saturday, Dec. 11.

The fire, which was contained primarily to the RV parked on the east side of AWF Performance Smog and Auto Repair, was reported to City of Hemet Emergency dispatchers about 5:08 p.m. The business is located at 1403 E. Menlo Avenue just east of N. San Jacinto Street in Hemet.

Although only one City of Hemet Fire Department engine company was initially dispatched to the reported fire, as more 911 calls continued pouring in to the city’s dispatch center, many callers reported hearing multiple explosions coming from the area of the fire.

At that point – with reports of explosions emanating from the fire – two more engine companies, a battalion commander, and a Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire engine company responded to the reported fire and explosions. AMR medics were also dispatched to the fire.

Deputies from the sheriff’s Hemet and San Jacinto stations responded to assist during the fire. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

Hemet police officers and deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet and San Jacinto stations responded to the blaze to assist with traffic and crowd control.

The first engine company arrived at the blaze at 5:13 p.m. and reported finding a “well involved RV fire.”

A battalion commander arrived on scene less than one minute after the first arriving fire engine and immediately established the Menlo Incident Command.

Other engine companies began arriving within minutes and firefighters immediately began an aggressive attack on the fire.

While firefighters worked to knock down the blaze, officials called for the closure of all east and west bound traffic on E. Menlo Avenue, to ensure the safety of on-scene emergency first responders.

The fire was primarily contained to one RV, which was destroyed by the blaze.

The source of the explosions during the fire was was not immediately known; however, the explosions were believed to have been caused by propane tanks from in and/or around the RV fire.

The RV smolders after the blaze was extinguished. Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News photo

At 6:22 p.m., after firefighters had knocked down the RV blaze and were working on hot-spots to ensure against accidental flare-ups, emergency dispatchers advised of a residential fire in the 2000 block of Rose Avenue, near Ivy Street in Hemet.

With the E. Menlo Avenue fire controlled, engines from that incident and all other available city fire resources were diverted to the reported residential fire.

911 callers reported seeing smoke pouring from the garage of the residence on Ivy Street and reported an electrical burning smell.

Three engine companies, a battalion commander, a paramedic squad, and AMR medics were all dispatched to the residential fire.

The first arriving engine company reported finding no smoke or flames showing from the residence. Further investigation revealed an electrical socket that was smoldering and posed no other danger.

The cause of the originally reported RV fire on E. Menlo Avenue is under investigation.

The fire brought many curious onlookers and caused all traffic to be diverted away from the area. Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News photo

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John Strangis/Hemet News video


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.