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The remains of a fire-ravaged home that claimed the lives of two local Indian Wells Valley residents late last week. / Laura Austin Photo

Calvert Street fire claims two lives Friday, March 29

By Laura Austin News Review Staff Writer–

On March 29th, two tragic fatal incidents occurred.  The first occurred at approximately 3:00 a.m. when Kern County Fire Department (KCFD) firefighters were dispatched to the 1500 block of N. Calvert Blvd. to a reported house on fire with possible victims trapped inside. Liberty Ambulance was also sent and responded as a precaution. Upon arrival, firefighters found a single-story modular home, approximately 1400 square feet, with 75% of the structure fully involved in flames. Heavy flames were showing from the windows as the firefighters went to work. The Captain could not make his way around the home entirely due to the extensive fire activity but did manage to turn off the electrical and gas utilities. Hose lines were pulled to the front and rear of the structure as firefighters aggressively attacked the fire. The 2nd arriving engine “grabbed” a hydrant and helped establish a water supply for the firefight. With victim search and fire extinguishment priorities, firefighters pushed into the structure. Progress was slow as the firefighters fought through the heat and flames. Additional hose lines were pulled, and a neighboring structure was protected.

According to KCFD officials, the firefighters were saddened to report that while searching, two victims were found within the structure with fatal injuries. “Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones,” they said.

The Kern County Sheriff’s (KCSO) Coroner’s Office and Kern County Fire Investigation Unit were requested to report the incident for a more extensive investigation. The on-scene firefighters used special care to leave the area where the occupants were discovered untouched. The area where the fire was suspected to have started was preserved as much as possible as firefighters ensured complete extinguishment of the blaze.  KCFD equipment assigned were engines: E81, E83, E84, E85, Specialty equipment assigned were: BATT8, BS81, AU4, AU6 and total of 15 personnel. The assisting agencies included the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office will handle all inquiries regarding the deceased. No further injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The scene was left in the care of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

The second incident occurred on March 29th, at 5:21 a.m., on Highway 395 at mile marker 59 in San Bernardino County, approximately 19 miles north of Kramer Junction near Johannesburg. Kern County firefighters and The California Highway Patrol (CHP) were dispatched to reports of a traffic collision. Arriving on the scene, CHP Barstow and KCFD Boron Engine 87 found a 2-vehicle head-on collision between a Honda Pilot and an Audi A4 with significant injuries. The KCFD Captain took command of the incident and surveyed the area. There was one patient deceased, two patients with critical injuries, and one with moderate injuries for a total of four victims.

An air ambulance and additional ground ambulances were requested. As fire equipment and ambulances arrived, crews were assigned to assist with patient care and move the individuals to transport units. Firefighters also determined a safe landing zone and coordinated with the medical airship for landing. Multiple firefighters rode to the hospital with ambulances to assist with patient care. The condition of one of the critical patients further deteriorated, and he was pronounced deceased during transport. No injuries to firefighters or police officers were reported.