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Firefighters douse hotspots at a fire that started at 1895 E. Underwood Road (left) and later consumed 1977 E. Underwood (just to the left) on Sunday afternoon, June 27 in Holtville. Both homes were destroyed eventually, 12 people displaced from three homes and five fire personnel injured. | CORNELIO LANDEROS PHOTO

Holtville Brush Fire Displaces 12, Hurts 5 Firefighters

East Underwood Road Neighborhood Sees Heavy Fire Damage Sunday Afternoon, June 27.

HOLTVILLE — Twelve people from three separate households were displaced and five firefighters sustained minor injuries in a second-alarm brush fire on East Underwood Road in the far eastern part of Holtville on Sunday afternoon, June 27.

Through a haze of smoke, Imperial County Firefighter Daniel Jaregui takes a break Sunday afternoon, June 27, after a brush fire in an east Holtville neighborhood destroyed two homes, displaced 12 people and injured three fire personnel. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

Two neighboring homes and a recreational vehicle were destroyed around 5:35 p.m. in the 1800 and 1900 blocks of East Underwood, Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva reported on Monday morning, June 28.

One Holtville firefighter sustained a minor burn, while two other agency firefighters suffered heat exhaustion and another two sustained strained shoulders, Silva said. All of the department’s personnel were treated and have recovered or are recovering, he added.

The fire apparently had started in some brush near a recreational vehicle that was parked near a home located at 1895 E. Underwood Road, Silva said on Monday. The cause remains under investigation.

Though the property is located outside city limits, the Fire Department had sent notices to the property owner advising them that the brush constituted a fire hazard and requesting that it be removed.

“They never cleaned it so that’s what spread the fire,” Silva said.

An Imperial County firefighter watches in the foreground as another firefighter (hidden) sprays water onto the corrugated roof of a home at 1977 E. Underwood Road that was eventually destroyed on Sunday afternoon, June 27, after a brush fire jumped from a neighbor’s property to the east. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

Holtville fire was the first to respond to the scene and quickly called a second alarm, prompting mutual assistance from the El Centro, Calexico, Imperial County and Brawley fire departments. Temperatures at the time of the blaze hovered around 118 degrees, Silva said.

One of the homes, located at 1977 E. Underwood Road, was constructed from stucco and had a corrugated metal roof that prevented both the fire from breaching and allowing firefighters to combat the blaze from the interior of the home. Instead, firefighters were limited to fighting the structure’s fire from the outside, which took about five hours to extinguish, Silva said.

The owner of that home at 1977 E. Underwood, Seeley resident Lorena Razo, whose parents were living in the home, said that a previous fire had broken out some time back at the 1895 E. Underwood address.

A Calexico firefighter providing assistance to Holtville fire crews douses flames at 1895 E. Underwood Road on Sunday, June 27. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

A total of about four to five vehicles that were located at both of the properties were destroyed by the fire, as well. Three of those vehicles were inoperable, Silva said.

Razo said her 64-year-old father’s Ford Expedition, and a Toyota Corolla and a Dodge Charger all were damaged at her home.

The American Red Cross was on scene at the time of the fire to provide the displaced families and the nearly three dozen responding firefighters with assistance.

Fire crews run hoses to a tanker truck and onto an group of homes just outside Holtville city limits on East Underwood Road on Sunday, June 27, where two homes were destroyed, five firefighters were injured and 12 people were displaced. | CORNELIO LANDEROS PHOTO