1/2 acre Burney fire quickly extinguished, transient reportedly detained and questioned
BURNEY — Firefighters managed to quickly knock down a small, half-acre, brush and tree fire that erupted earlier this afternoon on Burney’s west end, north of Highway 299.
A man believed to be a transient was seen running from the area behind Las Colinas Mobile Estates, off Main St. in the area of Tamarack Ave., shortly after the fire broke out. According to witnesses, deputies investigating the suspicious fire detained and questioned the subject about the fire’s origin.
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Burney Fire Protection District firefighters and other emergency personnel responded to the area shortly before 2:30 p.m., after receiving several 911 calls from area residents reporting smoke and flames spotted in the woods behind the mobile home park.
While firefighters launched an aggressive attack to extinguish the fire, deputies were seen searching dirt roads and other areas near where the small blaze broke out for the man seen fleeing the area.
“Burney Fire responded to a 1/2 acre fire behind the Las Colinas Mobile Home Park. The fire was quickly brought under control,” a fire official later reported in a social media release. “There is no further danger to the (residents) of Las Colinas or Burney at the time.”
Burney resident Kelly Hogan Schultz later said she watched the small fire and firefighters’ efforts from her home and described seeing helicopters dropping water to extinguish the flames. “Luckily it was small and the fire department is literally right next door,” Schultz expressed with gratitude.
Multiple area residents and sources familiar with the fire and subsequent investigation later reported that a male transient, possibly seen running from the area, was eventually located and detained for questioning. It was not immediately known if the man was connected to the fire or arrested or if officials believe the fire was purposely set or accidental.
Another Burney resident, Greg Gilbert, later wrote on social media that after the fire was extinguished, he watched a helicopter make several passes over the area, scouting for any additional hot spots to ensure against accidental flare up and re-ignition.
“Homeless live up in the woods behind the (mobile home park),” Gilbert wrote. “(They) walk up and down my street every day to go to (and) from town.”
“Living in Burney this time of year is like living with a gun to the back of your head,” Gilbert lamented, writing, “Sure am glad we’re so respectful of tweakers’ and vagrants’ rights!”
Other than confirming the fire had been extinguished, officials have not released any other details and have made no mention of the person reportedly detained in connection with their fire investigation, which is active and ongoing.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta 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, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” boasts 13 children and 14 – soon to be 16 – grandchildren.