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Chimney Fire Displaces 11 People in Murrieta

A wood fire burning in the fireplace of a Murrieta home spread into the chimney flue and attic space before fire crews arrived and stopped it.

Eleven people were displaced Friday night when a fire broke out inside a chimney flue.

Sixteen Murrieta firefighters responded to the fire that was reported at 10:22 p.m. in the 24700 block of New Clay Street near Historic Downtown Murrieta.

Two skateboarders told Patch they were filming on the Ivy Street bridge when they noticed the fire.

"I thought it was a controlled fire so we skated by just to see what it was and the chimney was just up in flames and so we called 911," said Isaac Speidel, 19.

"We came skating down here because we were curious about the fire," said Johnny Legnard, 19.

Fire crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming from the roof, near the chimney. It took crews 10 minutes to gain control of the fire, according to Murrieta Firefighter/Engineer Matt Corelli.

A family of five as well as some roommates are tenants in the manufactured home, Patch learned.

Friday evening, the family of five was relaxing and watching TV shortly after lighting a wood fire in the living room fireplace.

Osvaldo Luna Jr., a young boy, said he and his mother began smelling smoke.

The boy said they alerted his father, Osvaldo Luna, who tried to put out the fire.

"He went up the ladder with the hose but the smoke still kept coming out," the younger Osvaldo said.

Murrieta fire Battalion Chief Steve Kean said based on preliminary investigation, the fire extended from the fireplace into the chimney flue and then into the attic space.

Kean estimated at least $10,000 in damage.

Crews used a chainsaw to removed charred parts of the chimney, and insulation had to be removed from the attic space.

"There is pretty significant damage around the chimney flue," Kean said.

The entire home's power would need to be shut off at least overnight and maybe longer, he said.

The family of five became displaced as a result, and told Patch they did not have anywhere to spend the night.

Kean said the Red Cross was due to respond, and would be able to assist the residents for the night.

"We made sure the fire was out," Kean said. "Tonight we are going to cut the power off and advise the homeowner to have the electrical system evaluated by going through the notification process with their insurance company. We help them through the process."

He estimated the manufactured home was at least 25 years old, and said that burning a lot of wood over the years can cause a buildup in chimney flues.

"People need to clean and maintain them," Kean said, as a word of advice.

He also noted that many homes in Murrieta are equipped with gas fireplaces, but residents burn wood.

"They weren't meant for that," Kean said.

censored messenger November 18, 2012 at 07:41 AM
Why is it wrong for a Murrieta policeman to ask politely if the Luna family has the valid right to be in this country.....? And to check ICE data bank for proof......? Since they are now charges of both charity and government organizations..
sam bradstreet November 19, 2012 at 12:51 AM
You know you are scum CM. This is why we are going to pass AMNESTY......ON YOUR BACK SIDE.
censored messenger November 19, 2012 at 06:53 AM
Even legal residents with green cards and work permits can't find work now, you must be blind....a glut of guys mowing lawns now sammy, check it out.. It's the "Great Recession", and its going to get a lot worse. ID cards won't be free and won't help them find work. It's just for welfare and food stamps.

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