Vacant townhome burns in Rio Del Oro neighborhood

Data pix.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- A fire in Sacramento's Rio Del Oro neighborhood posed some unique challenges for firefighters early Thursday morning.

“Once crews got on scene, they noticed a heavy volume of fire on the second floor and through the roof of a townhome,” Metro Fire Battalion Chief Kiley Keely said.

As firefighters searched the building, they realized no one was living there and it looked like it was under construction.

But just as quickly as crews rushed into the townhouse, they had to get out.

“On the second floor there was some structural collapse,” Keely said. “So we transitioned from an offensive strategy to a defensive strategy and pulled everybody out.”

They watched the smoke pour through the roof, hoping the fire would burn itself out but the flames only grew.

“The fire flared up after we had initially had it knocked down but that’s because there were some concealed spaces," Keely said. "And our most effective ability to put fire out is by going inside, pulling ceiling and attacking it from directly at the seat of the fire. But since we're operating hose lines from the outside, we can’t do that.”

So firefighters took a different approach, using the ladder on top of their engine to spray water directly down onto the flames.

“Tens of thousands of gallons easy,” Keely said. “The truck supplies easily 1,500 to 2,000 gallons a minute.”

The layout of the neighborhood didn’t make things any easier, with the townhomes built just feet from one another. Firefighters said getting their hoses close to the flames and making sure they contained the fire to one home proved challenging.

After the flames were completely out, daylight revealed just how much damage was done and just how much work crews had ahead of them still.

“We do have some structural issues on the right side of the building. It’s leaning pretty badly toward the home on the right side,” Keely said.

The building inspector said an excavator will be brought in to tear down the house and avoid any risk of it collapsing onto the home next door.

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