Investigators deem Vallejo grass fire as 'suspicious'

A grass fire in Vallejo that burned 5 to 10 acres of brush Wednesday afternoon was contained within 2.5 hours.

The fire started around 2:50 p.m. near the junction of Highway 37 and 29. Vallejo Fire Department spokesperson William Tweedy said the fire started in the middle of a homeless encampment and is considered suspicious.

Very dry brush and windy conditions help fuel the flames in wetlands, trees and brush.

Crews moved to an aggressive attack after a homeless woman told firefighters a young woman might be trapped behind the flames.

"One of them (firefighters) even bottled up in a mask so he could try to run through the fire so he could get to that homeless encampment so he could get in their as he can and see if there was a victim," Fire Chief Cliff Campbell said.

No one was found in the encampment.

A Cal Fire helicopter dropped buckets of water from above. At one point, when the chopper had gone to refuel, flames nearly burned into the backyards of an adjacent subdivision. Homeowners said the helicopter made it back just in time.

"I told them all, you're all heroes, but I said the game ball has to go to the pilot of that helicopter because he must have made 50 trips," Vallejo homeowner Terry Little said.

A Vallejo firefighter was able to rescue a kitten from the grassy area before the fire reached the animal.

The fire was the second in two days believed to have been caused by a homeless person. A fire at an abandoned building at the former Mare Island shipyard on Tuesday is suspected to have been caused by a homeless person.


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