Sac Metro Fire evacuated residents from Christa Manor Apartments in southeast Sacramento after a grass fire engulfed a vacant lot next to their homes.
“I heard it crackling, the wood crackling down, and that’s when I started to get nervous, like oh my god, that home’s going to catch fire,” said Joe Morones.
Morones was driving home from Walmart with his family when they saw flames in the field. They photographed the flames with a cellphone as they drove passed.
“At first there was nobody here. Then the fire department came and started escorting everyone out. ‘Get out. Get out. Get out,'” said Mornones.
Sac Metro Fire Department safely evacuated the entire complex, but not before the fire engulfed a fence that separated apartments from the flaming field of grass.
“Crews did a great job knocking it down quickly and avoiding any damage to the apartment complex. Nobody was injured, fortunately, either on the civilian side or the fire department side,” said Battalion Chief Ron Denny.
Celia Escotto was happy to find out that there were no injuries on the canine side, either. Her chihuahua, Baby, was recovered from her apartment a short time after she was evacuated. Celia was sleeping when the fire climbed up the fence separating her apartment from the field.
“She said herself, you know, one of these days these grasses right here are gonna catch fire,” said Celia’s daughter Merna Escotto.
Unfortunately, Saturday was that day.
“I saw a big ball of flames jumped over the fence and land on the ground,” said Mack Butler.
Butler said the same vacant lot caught fire back in 2002, and the grass there has been plowed every summer since.
“Every year, like first part of June, but I don’t know why they didn’t do it this year,” Said Butler.
Similar vacant lots populated with tall, dead grass mark many corners in the area.
“These vacant lots can range anywhere from a quarter acre to several acres, are generally not maintained well and they do create quite a problem for us because they do run right up to structures. The crews out in this area are familiar with them they pre-plan for these locations so they are ready if they do have to respond to a fire,” said Battalion Chief Denny.