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Ridgecrest Police Officer Franklen Mixon converses with a Ridgecrest man about the danger of his proximity with the raging fire. | Laura Austin Photo

Two Fires in two days destroy structures


On Saturday afternoon at 3:02 PM, a structure fire was reported downtown Ridgecrest that ravaged two Main Street Businesses. Firefighters from Kern County stations 73, 74, 75, 77 and California City engine 19 responded to the structure fire at Miscellaneous Items Store and the Bargain Toy Store located in the 100 block of W. Ridgecrest Blvd. An additional KCFD engine also responded from Bakersfield for reinforcement. The fire appeared to be concentrated in the attics but the contents of both stores sustained water, fire and smoke damage.

One woman was evaluated at the scene for possible smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion by Liberty Ambulance paramedics and a firefighter was also evaluated. In both cases, their condition appeared not life threatening. According to Kern County Fire Battalion Chief Herndon, the cause of the fire is currently undetermined.

A California City Firefighter assesses the inside of Miscellaneous Items Store for lingering hot spots. | Laura Austin Photo

The first fire occurred Friday afternoon near an outbuilding in the 100 block of West Ridgecrest Blvd. Eye witness recalled hearing what they call popping noises such as from a possible downed power line. With in minutes outbuildings, motor vehicles, vegetation, fences as well as a power pole were consumed in flames.

Neighbors and residents of the nearby dwellings jumped in to help squelch the blaze. Within several minutes Kern County Fire engines 74 and 77 arrived on scene. Four engines in total responded to the scene as well as Ridgecrest Police and Ridgecrest Regional Hospital’s Liberty Ambulance.

According to Erica Bain, Public Information with the Kern County Fire Department, the fire was called in at approximately 1:38 PM of an outbuilding/ shed on fire. When firefighters arrived on scene, the building was percent involved. “We moved quickly because the flames were pushing north toward a detached garage. That garage ended up catching fire as well. We got both fires out by 2:10 PM.” At press time, cause of fire was under investigation. Moderate winds and mid day temperatures that reached in the triple digits hindered Kern County and California City Firefighters.