Just after Sonora fire crews extinguished a roadside fire behind Lowe’s Home Improvement and off Highway 108 Thursday afternoon, they noticed a new fire burning a few hundred yards away inside a homeless encampment.

“Typically it's not something you see. You’re finishing with one and you see another one starting in another location,” said Sonora Fire Chief Aimee New.

Fire crews discovered a quarter-acre grass and brush fire and determined it was ignited from something on the freeway, either by a dragged chain or a catalytic converter. Behind Lowe’s Home Improvement, a rock wall contained the fire between the patch of dry grass and kept it from spreading to the nearby business, New said.

It was as they were leaving the scene from the Lowe’s parking lot — located off Old Wards Ferry Road — that they noticed the other fire burning below a radio tower on Sanguinetti Road, near the train tracks, at a known homeless encampment. 

“We’ve had several fires in that area this year,” New said.


Read more about the homeless camp fire and the possible cause in tomorrow’s Union Democrat. 


Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.


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