California Residents Try to Put Out Fire on Their Own

OILDALE, Calif. --

A fire breaks out at a retirement trailer park off north Chester, as neighbors and passers-by banded together to try to keep the fire from spreading before the fire department arrived.

Just after 12:30 Wednesday afternoon, a fire started in a storage shed at a residence in the Highland Knolls Estates senior living center.

Neighbors worked together to stop the fire from spreading but the fire department warns that can be very dangerous.

Witnesses said you could see the smoke from miles around.

"I ran over a grabbed a hose and another guy helped me." said Mark Pelham, one of the good samaritans.

A handful of neighbors worked together using garden hoses.

"By then then, the flames were getting up pretty high," said Courtney Roskam, neighbor.

The fire started in a storage shed just feet away from the home.

"If everybody hadn't been so quick, the fire would have spread to the house of the people who lived there, said Mary Raimer, resident.

Pelham was driving down north Chester when he spotted the smoke. He saw that the fire department had not yet arrived, so he decided to pick up a garden hose to douse the flames.

"You do what you gotta do. I know if one of these trailers goes up, it's going to catch another one, then catch another one, so I tried to extinguish the fire as fast as I could," said Pelham.

Roskam reacted quickly to the fire and ran to alert the homeowners.

"I could see the flames and I pounded on their door and told them to call the fire department. They had no idea there was a fire in their back shed," said Roskam.

When firefighters arrived, they quickly sprang into quick action to stop the small but aggressive fire. The storage shed's contents had accelerants that fed the flames.

Residents were praising the efforts of the firefighters and those who picked up hoses before firefighters arrived.

"The young man who got the hose from this house saved the day, he absolutely saved the day," said Raimer.

However, the fire department does not encourage people to fight fires before they arrive due to the hazards that could be involved.

"When we got here, neighbors were attempting to extinguish the fire, one of our concerns we don't want anybody to get hurt, said Captain Jonathan Trammell, of the KC Fire Department.

Many of the residents trying to fight the fire were wearing shorts and T-shirts. Fire officials said that could be a recipe for disaster if the flames became more aggressive.

Nobody was injured and the cause is still under investigation.

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