Kitchen Fire Puts Historic Valuables in Danger

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As thick black smoke did damage throughout a Stratford Street home, firefighters realized this was no ordinary residence.

“The house has a lot of historical things in it. It’s a black history museum. So I don’t know what damage has been done,” said the home’s owner, Dr. Tchaka Muhammed.

Many African and American Indian artifacts were inside and were touched by the smoke and flames.

“He has a lot of cultural valuables in the house … We’re doing the salvage slow so we make sure we don’t damage anything,” said Sacramento Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Ortiz.

Dr. Muhammed was cooking and apparently forgot about some chicken he left on the stovetop.

“I just happen to look up and by the time I tried to get into the kitchen, I couldn’t even get into the house,” Dr. Muhammed said.

Fortunately, no one else was home – and the family dog was already in the backyard.

“I have a gold fish that might not have survived,” Dr. Muhammed said.

He manages to keep a positive attitude, despite the damage to his home.

“My grandmother used to say that life is gonna knock you down sometimes. She said when it does, try to fall on your back, ‘cause if you can look up, you can get up,” Dr. Muhammed said.

Good Samaritan and neighbor David Kincannon was just down the street when the fire broke out and jumped in to help.

“I just happened to be coming home,” Kincannon said.

“He grabbed a hose and turned on the water, trying to fight it,” Dr. Muhammed said.

No damage estimate has been released yet, as the valuable contents will still be assessed.

“It would take his insurance company to make that kind of estimates,” Ortiz said.

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