HEMET: Firefighter hospitalized after battling “swift moving” vegetation blaze

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Timothy Franzese of Public Safety Incidents contributed to this report.

HEMET – A small but “swift moving” vegetation fire kept firefighters busy and sent one firefighter to an area hospital this afternoon, Saturday, May 20.

The blaze erupted in a large, vacant field southwest of the intersection of Kirby Street and Acacia Avenue in Hemet.

Acacia Avenue and Kirby Street quickly became clogged with traffic as people drove past to see the fire up close. Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photo

Although there were no initially reported injuries, shortly after 1:30 p.m., officials at the scene of the fire requested emergency response from an AMR ambulance.

AMR medics and an AMR supervisor eventually responded to the location and treated a firefighter.

Timothy Franzese – of Hemet’s Facebook group Public Safety Incidents – reported from the scene that it appeared the firefighter was given oxygen and possibly treated for smoke inhalation or dehydration.

The firefighter was then transported to an area hospital for further evaluation and treatment, said Franzese.

Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown later confirmed in a telephone interview that a firefighter had been transported to an area hospital after suffering from dehydration.

No further updates about the firefighter’s condition were immediately available.

City of Hemet firefighters were dispatched to the location about 12:30 p.m., after witnesses called 911 to report the growing fire.

Two Hemet FD engine companies and a battalion chief were initially dispatched to the fire; however, officials later called for another Hemet engine company as well as additional assistance from Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire. A large, off-road brush rig also responded to the fire.

A Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire fixed-wing aircraft was seen flying nearby, however, it was not immediately known if the plane had been assigned to assist with the fire or was preparing to use nearby Hemet Ryan airport.

Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes of the dispatched call and reported a “small but swift-moving” vegetation fire, covering about one acre of a large, vacant field directly across the street from the Casa Del Sol Mobile Home Park.

Officers and police volunteers direct traffic away from the fire. Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photo

While firefighters battled the blaze, officials called for the temporary closure of portions of Kirby Street and Acacia Avenue.

Hemet police officers and volunteers responded to the area and assisted with the road closures as well as pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area.

Firefighters managed to quickly knock down the brush fire; however, they remained at the scene for several hours investigating the cause of the fire and for extensive overhaul and mop-up operations.

At least one person reported to officials seeing several juveniles on skateboards leaving the area just before the fire was first spotted, but there was no immediate indication the skateboarders actually started the fire or any other information how the blaze started.

Officials are investigating the fire’s cause and an arson investigator had reportedly responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.

Although some firefighters remained at the scene several hours after the fire, all lanes of traffic were reportedly reopened by 3:30 p.m.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photo


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.


  • Candy S Powell

    Sending prayers for the firefighter. God bless you all..

  • There was no aircraft on this fire.

  • These incidents seem benign and routine until something happens to jar us back into awareness of just how dangerous any uncontrolled fire can be. My son-in-law was a firefighter for some years before becoming a sheriff deputy. I can still remember being shocked at how much heat was generated from a staged car fire he demonstrated fighting. Had I been as close as he was in his gear, there’s no doubt I would have been injured just by the radiant heat.

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