Fatal Fortuna Fire Considered Accidental

Press release:

The Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department responded to the report of a structure fire at a residence located in the Royal Crest Mobile Estates Tuesday morning at 5:13 am. Update report from police units arriving on-scene stated that heavy smoke was observed coming from the eaves of the roof and the resident was still in the home. First in engine crews were assigned to force entry and search for the victim however; crews were unable to enter the residence due to the heavy loading of materials throughout; every access point including windows were blocked making the interior of the residence inaccessible. Fire suppression activities were limited to exterior attack methods until the fire was brought under control allowing crews to remove materials and access the elderly female resident who was found to be deceased.

The residence suffered heavy fire and smoke damage throughout however; fire crews were able to prevent any fire damage to surrounding exposures. The origin of the fire was determined to have been in the laundry room of the residence, it is suspected that the fire had actually been burning for some time prior to having been reported based on the severity of damage found and the heavy fire conditions encountered. The cause of the fire is undetermined but is considered to have been accidental.

The department responded with five engines and one water tender to supplement water supply. A second alarm was initiated which brought assistance from Rio Dell and Loleta Fire Departments.



  • Nice response from the fire chief but why was this not explained on the initial press release ? I call COVER UP for incompetence!! How many personnel were on scene? Why did the first arriving engine only have a driver and 1 firefighter?? But the fire chief wants to call the resident/Victim a “hoarder”! The lies need to stop sir fire chief

    • Play the audio of radio traffic. It’s all water supply issues and not about entry issues, victim trapped inside etc.

      • They make saws that will cut through anything metal pipes, concrete etc. We’re any used or attempted to be used to enter this thin metal mobile home to save or find the victim? I hope the victims family inquire highly of this investigation?

        • Are you serious???? Man. You’ve got some nerve. Even after questioning the integrity of these brave people they wouldn’t hesitate to run into a fiery building to save your ungrateful ignorant ass. They never said she was a hoarder. The neighbor did.

        • The first report on condition by the police who arrived first was the house was charged with smoke, but no mention of flames showing. Ever seen the movie “Backdraft”? If not then don’t, it wasn’t anything close to being realistic from a real firefighters view. But the dangers of backdraft or flashover are very real if not vented properly. You cant just rip into the side with saws introducing oxygen suddenly. It’s very sad that a woman perished in this fire, but the news would be so much worse if the first arriving firefighters had acted rashly. The possibility of many first responders becoming victims themselves would not have made this outcome any better. Fortuna has some very well trained volunteers.

    • > Why did the first arriving engine only have a driver and 1 firefighter??

      Doesn’t Fortuna have a volunteer fire department? As in, they don’t pay firefighters to sit at the station doing nothing? Presumably the first engine went to the fire right away instead of wasting time waiting for more fire fighters to get out of bed 5 in the morning.

    • I love all the armchair expertise from anonymous posters. Really productive.

  • No such thing as “accidents.” Flammable materials left near heat. Spontaneous combustion of flammable materials. Bad wiring. On and on. There is no fire that is ever an “accident.” The Eureka specialties are leaving candles burning and flammable materials on a heating vent.

  • Comments made by Chief on scene were- inability to gain front entry due to the door being LOCKED. They searched around the structure and finally had to bust a window to get in. The pictures show 10′(?) flames involvement at rear of building. Any person inside would have perished if an alarm hadn’t sounded and awoken them in time. The woman was found in the hallway overcome by smoke ONE hour later. Why the dryer is the cause who really can say other than location location location of the blaze.
    Where were the fire alarms?? Why didn’t they work? The hoarding comments were made by the neighbor and “the chief” and were callous and inappropriate.

  • I don’t know the cause of the fire, but they state it started in the laundry room. Everyone, please clean out your dryer vent, not just the lint trap.

    Lint clogs it and can catch fire. If you’ve never done this before, do it today! Also, change your smoke detector batteries.

    While you’re at it, volunteer to replace elderly community members’ smoke detector batteries when you change your own.
    Wood stove maintenance, too. If you’re already doing all this, offer your help to people who might be less mobile or less handy. It only takes a few minutes.

  • Our wonderful short staffed Fortuna Volunteers DO offer fire alarm battery changing. You just have to call them and ask for help. This horrible fire event sends the message of nonfunctional fire alarms. How about Royal Crest requiring a mandatory 6 month battery/alarm check as policy? Something to think about for sure.

  • Someone years ago said the firemen had a fire fighting rod thingy that could be punched thru a wall to squirt water on the other side. Why didn’t the chief use that or was it locked up at the station? This horrible fire has more questions to be answered in an inquiry than a doctor trying to find something wrong with a healthy person. Why hasn’t the news media followed this fire more thoroughly? Why no statements from our firemen? Being quiet makes everyone suspicious there’s something to cover up. Is there?

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