Shelter owner injured saving dogs during Beaumont blaze

BEAUMONT — A family of three was displaced and one person was injured after a residential structure fire at a popular Beaumont animal shelter early Sunday evening, March 17. One dog was killed by the massive blaze, which erupted at Beaumont Boarding and Day Care in the 700 block of 4th St. 

The enormous fire, which could be seen for miles, destroyed a private residence on the property. However, thanks to the efforts of the shelter owner and police officers, several dogs were rescued from the burning home. The fire did not reportedly effect the shelter or its kenneled animals.

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Firefighters managed to quickly extinguish the fire; however the residence and all its belongings were destroyed, retired Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. and American Red Cross Disaster Action Team member Ray Gayton-Jacob later reported on social media.

Nearly two dozen Cal Fire/Riverside County and Morongo firefighters from five engine and one truck companies, along with Beaumont PD and other emergency personnel, were first alerted to the blaze just after 7 p.m. 911 callers reported seeing heavy smoke and flames billowing from a single-family residence at the location.

A family of three was displaced and a dog perished in a massive fire that destroyed a Beaumont home last night. Joie Rushing photo

When officials arrived they found the residence fully engulfed in fire. According to Beaumont PD, the shelter’s owner was valiantly attempting to enter the blazing structure to save several animals still trapped inside the burning residence.

As firefighters were arriving at the scene, the officers evacuated the owner and several additional dogs, BPD reported after the blaze. 

That victim, who has not been publicly identified, was injured while saving animals that “otherwise would have likely perished in the blaze,” one firefighter reported from the scene.

“The residents made it out safely but lost everything in the fire,” Gayton-Jacob later explained. “As the attached property is a private animal shelter, an overabundance of local animal activists arrived to care for the uninjured animals on the property.”

The injured homeowner later said he “was so grateful” for the outpouring of assistance from the community, according to Gayton-Jacob, who said, “I felt so proud to see our community reaching out and assisting this family during their time of chaos and need.”

“The Red Cross assisted the residents by providing funds for temporary housing,” Gayton-Jacob continued. “We also provided the family with blankets, comfort kits, refreshments, and access to disaster relief caseworkers to help with any additional needs the residents may seek.”

Last night’s blaze caused minor delays along the nearby I-10 Freeway. Katie Walker photo

Because the fire erupted just south of the I-10 Freeway, commuters and area motorists reported minor delays in travel times, which was primarily caused by people slowing down to get a better look at the huge flames coming from the burning residence.

According to Beaumont PD, the cause of the fire is unknown at this time and officials are continuing to investigate how the blaze started.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Joie Rushing photos:


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year 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 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 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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