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Clean-up after Schellville fire will take time

Less than a week after a multi-million-dollar fire swept through a swath of Schellville, some things are returning to normal. But on a broader scale, it will be a while – maybe a long while – before normal completely returns.

Schell-Vista Fire Chief Ray Mulas said Thursday the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. He knows how the fire started, but he hasn’t received a patrol car video from the California Highway Patrol that captured the origins of the incident.

Mulas said a CHP officer was following a tow truck as it transported a car that had been involved in an earlier accident. Mulas said that when the tow truck hit a chuck-hole by the railroad tracks on Fremont Drive, a chain dropped to the pavement. The CHP officer hit his lights to pull the truck over, and that’s when the video system in the squad car started.

The sparks from the chain started multiple fires, spread to a pallet factory and, in the end, it took 180 firefighters from four counties more than seven hours to douse the flames. Numerous fire crews spent the night at the scene putting out hot spots and preventing flare-ups.

Sonoma Pacific, the pallet factory, suffered a lot of damage, but it occurred around the perimeter of the site and spared the production facility.


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