Updated: Fire Crews Quickly Contain Walnut Brush Fire

Flames scorched a couple of acres put crews quickly got a handle on the situation, fire officials said.

Updated 5:45 p.m.

Silver Trail resident Yasmeen Najmi was at home doing laundry and preparing for upcoming guests when she stepped outside and spotted black smoke wafting in the air three doors down from her property.

"I just ran inside and I called 9-1-1," said Najmi, the wife of Walnut Planning Commissioner Waseem Najmi.  "I could see this dark, smoke billowing up."

At just before 4 p.m., fire engines descended the residential street in the hilly neighborhood behind Walnut City Hall. Crews, 195 firefighters total, tackled the small brush fire that burned on grassy hillsides on both sides of the street.

Around 12 engines, 12 battalion chiefs, four camp crews, and 1 squad patrol responded to the scene. Firefighters from West Covina and Pomona aided those from Walnut. By 4:45 p.m., the two-acre fire was dying out and crews were mopping up the scene.

Najmi said the brush behind her home and the neighboring properties had just been tilled on Wednesday, something Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff's officials have been emphasizing recently as the weather has become hot and dry.

Mayor Pro Tem Antonio "Tony" Cartagena said that is why it is important for residents to make sure to clean up their brush. A similar fire in July near the sheriff's station on Valley Boulevard was quickly contained because the brush had been cut back, Cartagena said.

Councilman Eric Ching, who was out knocking on doors shortly after the blaze erupted, said the smoke from the fire could be seen from the 57/60 freeway interchange.  He was out shopping he said when spotted the smoke.

"I saw the smoke and I rushed right over," he said.  I am so glad they were able to put it out so quickly."


Original Story

A small brush fire that scorched a couple of acres along a Walnut trail this afternoon has been contained by fire crews, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman said today.

Los Angeles County Fire Crews were dispatched at 3:49 p.m. to the 600 block of North Silver Trail where they quickly issued a second alarm, calling for more equipment, said the county fire spokesman.

County Fire officials dispatched 195 firefighters and one water-dropping helicopter to battle the fire, said county fire department spokesman David Bloom. Some structures were threatened, he said.

As of 4:45 p.m., the flames were dying down and crews had a good handle on the blaze, the spokesman said. No one was hurt and no property was damaged, officials said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, officials said.

Though small, the smell and sight of of a large plume of smoke jangled nerves of residents in and around Walnut thanks to a number of destructive fires that have broken out around Southern California.

Los Angeles County Fire officials said they did not expect the Walnut fire to spread beyond the few acres it had already burned.

Vito Spago May 04, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Who cares what Cartagena or Ching's opinions are. Why do they have to interject. Ching couldn't make up his mind whether he was shopping or knocking on doors right after the fire started. Well most of us do not care. 12 engines, 12 battalion chiefs, four camp crews, and 1 squad patrol. Wow. Guess we are impressed. Anyone know who started the fire?
Michael May 04, 2013 at 05:10 PM
I think it was pretty nice of all of them to call 911 and get out and help alert people that might have had their AC on and not able to smell the fire.
Joe Estez May 04, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Great job Mchael W. Two positive posts in a row. It is nice to see you with a new positive outlook. Don't you feel better? Remember only post negative comments if the story really deserves it and you will feel much better. Hope the rest of your day is Great!
Michael May 04, 2013 at 11:48 PM
I wasn't keeping score. I call 'em as I see 'em.
Joe Estez May 05, 2013 at 12:53 AM
See that Michael W, I always knew there was a nice guy under that rough and tough exterior. Keep it up, a positive outlook will do wonders for all you do. Just don't let your guard down, it may be a continual struggle. Great job!
GrammarNAZIxxx May 07, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Spider man, your grammar usage in the first sentence is incorrect. It is supposed to be 'Ching may have been knocking on doors'. Please learn the English language before posting such negative comments.
spider man May 07, 2013 at 04:53 PM
GrammarNAZIxxx must be associated with Ching to notice the grammar. Please respond by providing related facts instead – negative or positive.
spider man May 07, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Ching may have knocked on doors but NOT 'shortly after the blaze erupted' as the article stated because if he was there early enough he would be able to provide the complete story. He may have arrived there when the flames were already under control and started handing his business card to everyone he saw. Does Walnut have a sole Planning Commissioner? They have a Planning Commission with five or so members that work part time. Now, does the GrammarNazixxx have any facts to contribute?
Bethanie G May 07, 2013 at 10:28 PM
I agree with spider man. If GrammarNAZIxxx does not have any facts to contribute, he shouldn't be talking. Good job spider man, you saved the day!
Bethanie G May 07, 2013 at 10:28 PM
I agree with spider man. If GrammarNAZIxxx does not have any facts to contribute, he shouldn't be talking. Good job spider man, you saved the day!
Bethanie G May 07, 2013 at 11:07 PM
I was being sarcastic spider man. I actually support Eric Ching. :P
spider man May 08, 2013 at 04:55 PM
"... shortly after the blaze erupted" How would one know when the blaze erupted if they weren't there? "... Fire Crews were dispatched at 3:49 p.m." "As of 4:45 p.m., the flames were dying down and crews had a good handle on the blaze, ..." "... put it out so quickly" What time did Ching get there? By that time, I would assume that the residents had already evacuated. Oh, can the GrammarNazixxx please do a grammar check? Can you also do some fact checking?
Katashi J May 08, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Hey you the spider man, at least the Eric Ching arrived in the time to put out fire today. Don't be so mean to the GrammarNAZI, ok?
spider man May 08, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Now, Katashi J is saying that Ching "put out fire" that contradicts Ching's own words, "... I am so glad they were able to put it out."
Yermolai Vadik May 09, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Thank god the firemen appeared in time before the fire threatened the homes. Is it true that Eric Ching arrived IN TIME to help out, or is he just using this strategy so he can get more supporters?
spider man May 09, 2013 at 05:15 PM
As a city official, Ching must be aware that the procedure is for law enforcement to issue evacuation orders with the use of loud speakers and door to door contacts. This should have already been accomplished way before Ching arrived. Law enforcement would not have allowed him to walk around the neighborhood if there was danger.
Jacobi B May 09, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Good job, Walnut FD.
Xiang M May 09, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Spiderman, since you seem to know a lot about the facts, what caused the fire?
spider man May 10, 2013 at 02:25 AM
The cause is supposed to be under investigation according to the article. This may be where it started. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-CW4Y7a_Dw I think it is the combination of conditions of heat, wind and dry brush.
Alexander Y May 10, 2013 at 02:42 AM
So, in other words, the generic causes of a fire. Spider man, you're going to have to do a lot better than that if you want to convince us that you're legitimate. Also, GrammarNAZIxxx is not associated with Ching in any way. I know this from experience and because he is my acquaintance and teacher.
spider man May 10, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Hey, Alexander Y. I could have guessed that GrammarNAZIxxx was a teacher. In my opinion, very authoritative. If there was any other cause, we would have learned about it already. I do not know what you meant by "... that you're legitimate." I have no other source except for the article. They were just inaccurate.
Melanie C. Johnson (Editor) May 10, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Hello Spider man. The city does have a Planning Commission and five commissioners. Commissioner or Planning Commissioner is the correct title for each of the five. In the case of the chairman or vice chairman, you can refer to them with that title.
spider man May 10, 2013 at 05:21 AM
Thank you for the clarification Melanie.
spider man May 10, 2013 at 07:10 PM
According to this article on the SGV Tribune, http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_23167977/brish-fire-breaks-out-near-homes-walnut There were NO EVACUATIONS, according to Inspector Quvondo Johnson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Johnson said the blaze was knocked down at 4:58 p.m If it is true that there were no evacuations, why did Ching knock on doors? Did he really go house-to-house? What time was that? Was there anyone else with him? Why was he allowed to walk around? Was it already safe? Did he coordinate his efforts with anyone?


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