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“I called 911 at 3:07 p.m.,” said Skip, the manager of the Pomerado Gardens Apartments in Poway, checking his cell phone. On May 26, Skip was one of the first residents to alert emergency services of a brushfire burning the chaparral-covered hillside adjacent to Pomerado Road and Meadowbrook Lane.

“A little boy that lives here came and got me and said, ‘I see some smoke,’ so we walked up there and investigated,” said Skip. “It was a smaller fire, but it wasn’t small enough that I could put it out, so I had my cell phone and called the fire department.”

The fire moved quickly.

“It started small and it came 150 yards really fast towards the storage unit behind us there — that second building,” Skip noted.

Fire crews responded immediately to the 911 call, utilizing more than a half dozen engines and helicopters. “They’ve dumped about six helicopter loads on it,” said Skip.

As the estimated eight-acre fire burned, residents crowded the sidewalks on Pomerado Road and the parking lot of the 7-Eleven, which appeared to be the fire department’s temporary command post. Fire engines lined the narrow side streets, and police cruisers blocked off entrances to areas closest to the fire. Some residents donned surgical masks, while others took pictures and videos of the huge plume of smoke.

Homeowners on surface streets closest to the fire were seen in their driveways packing their cars with personal belongings in an apparent attempt to evacuate. Shortly after 4 p.m., it appeared that fire crews had an upper hand on the blaze. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

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CuddleFish May 27, 2010 @ 8:15 a.m.

Wow, thanks for that first hand look at how a fire starts that threatens a community. Good work.


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