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Cause of Fairfield Fire Under Investigation

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FAIRFIELD --

Mouse the cat had a bad night. Mouse spent it scared and alone, hiding in the home its owners weren't allowed into.

"When we came up, I couldn't believe what was happening and how fast it happened. I've never seen fire move like that," said Jackie Boutin, an evacuee from the fast-moving and destructive grass fire that damaged homes in Fairfield Monday.

Tuesday, there was more time to make sure Mouse doesn't become a casualty of that fire and time to assess the damage.

"They put holes in the ceiling and the back room is burnt for sure," Boutin said.

As residents on Taft Street began to get a handle on what happened there, firefighters were trying to figure out why it happened while some crews patrolled -- still on the lookout for hot spots.

"Day two. We're in more of an investigative mode at this point," said Fairfield Fire Battalion Chief Matt Luckenbach.

This fire burned along a railroad right-of-way and the backyards of the homes on Taft.

Those who live in the homes said there was a lot of grass growing where the fire burned -- grass growing wild that left plenty of fuel for the destructive blaze.

"Behind the fences... yes there was," Boutin said. "They usually cut it down."

Stoked by that dry grass, the fire quickly chewed into fences and anything else in its path.

And while its clear what fueled it, it's not clear -- there at the intersection of homes and railroad tracks -- whose responsibility that fuel is.

"It's a challenge. You'll get properties that have multiple borders on them. The big key is collaboration. Because we have multiple fire jurisdictions," Luckenbach said.

Both Union Pacific and the City of Fairfield say they have aggressive weed abatement programs.

Meanwhile, some homeowners along this stretch don't, making it difficult to sort out how to stop fire like this from happening again.