‘Up in smoke’: Bakersfield building fires on the rise

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) —  An overnight fire in South Bakersfield shines a light on a disturbing trend. First responders were called to a house fire on Cottonwood Road near East Casa Loma Drive at about 8:30 Thursday night. Last night’s structure fire on Cottonwood Road is one of hundreds this year alone, as a growing number of buildings go up in smoke.

“There were approximately five engines and two truck companies, they found that the abandoned structure was fully involved,” said Capt. Michael Taylor from the Bakersfield Fire Dept. “The fire was quickly brought under control.”

Firefighters say the home burned in November, leaving one person dead.

“The people that are going in understand that this is previously burned, and the structure is compromised,” said Capt. Taylor. “As far as the cause goes, it’s still under investigation. We have our arson units working on that, among other fires going on in the community lately.”

This blaze is just the latest in a string of fires, after a blaze at Maria’s Home Furnishings on Chester Avenue last week. The department says Bakersfield has seen 315 building fires so far this year. At this time last year, there were just 214.

“What’s behind this uptick in fires?” asked 17’s Moses Small.
“As far as the uptick, we can say yes there is one. As far as the causes, we still have to analyze the data,” said Capt. Taylor. “The factors are the number of abandoned structures in the city. We’re going to start tracking transient fires. It could be any number of things.”

The department says it expects to have more information about this surge in building fires by this time next year.

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