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Smoke and flames could be seen all across the valley as flames leapt 40 to 50 feet in the air. Firefighters encountered a massive collection of personal property inside and out of the duplex, making extinguishing the fire difficult. / Laura Austin Photos

Fire ravages duplex last Friday, leaving occupants homeless

By LAURA AUSTIN News Review Staff Writer–

    An orange glow illuminated the sky in Ridgecrest on Friday, December 1, at about 9:20 PM. Ridgecrest Police and Kern County Firefighters responded when multiple calls were received reporting flames and smoke from a duplex in the 300 block of N. Gold Canyon Dr. While en route, Kern County firefighters confirmed smoke and flames were seen from a distance. Upon arrival, Ridgecrest Police had roads closed to non-emergency thru traffic.

Laura Austin Photo

Fifty to sixty-foot massive flames and smoke were coming from the rear of the structure, extending toward the front of the duplex and enclosed carport. Firefighters stretched a hose line to the front of the structure and carport to protect an RV in the driveway.

  A verbal all-clear for one unit involved was received from Ridgecrest Police, and they were able to evacuate the occupant of the attached duplex at the direction of the Incident Commander.

Laura Austin Photo

Firefighters contended with excessive personal belongings in the backyard, consisting of multiple sheds, RV, books, clothing, and equipment. To overcome this barrier, firefighters also accessed and worked from the alley. The firefight continued at the front of the property as firefighters worked to knock down the carport fire and enter the structure.

Again, firefighters encountered a massive collection of personal property, this time in the residence and carport, making forward progress difficult. Firefighters fought their way in, eventually completing victim searches and extinguishing the fire.

Five Kern County engines, a China Lake Fire Engine, and 17 personnel worked the blaze. The estimated value loss was approximately $65,000. No injuries were reported on the scene by civilians or fire personnel. The cause is under investigation.