Grass fire fueled by winds damages several homes

ELK GROVE, Calif. - The Cosumnes Fire department is investigating a grass fire that quickly spread to several homes Monday afternoon.

The two-acre fire broke out at about 4:20 p.m in an open field in Elk Grove. A cause is still unknown, but investigators have determined the fire to be suspicious in

The dry conditions helped the fire spread to several backyards. The blaze was put out relatively quickly, but the three homes were damaged; their rooftops were burned. Several sheds were also destroyed.

"I heard an explosion and I jumped up to see what that was. I ran to the back of the house and couldn't see the back fence," resident Louis Crittendon said.

The flames came up to her backyard but firefighters were able to get to her home before the fire spread.

"We were lucky. I was looking at my neighbors and I was scared for them," she said.

The grass fire reached half a dozen homes, torching 200 feet of wood fencing.

Neighbors stepped in to keep the fire from the homes. "I went back there with the hose and tried to water down the fence but that lasted maybe 30 seconds because the smoke was just blowing in," said neighbor, Jeri Bartels.

Officials say the dry trees helped the fire spread. The windy conditions sent embers to the roofs.

"Conditions are ripe to burn this year. It's really important that homeowners take the opportunity to clean out their gutters. Shake roofs are dangerous period," said Deputy Fire chief Mike McLaughlin with the Cosumnes Fire Dept.


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