After fears of new Hemet fire dangers, Tropical Storm Kay aids huge increase in containment
Kay was a huge factor in the containment of an Hemet fire in February. There was a second fire at the same structure in March, as well as a third in April.
The Hemet Fire Department and Hemet Police Department responded to the three fires, with firefighters battling blazes at both the Highland Park Hills Elementary School and the Hemet Senior Center in the same block of Highland Ranch Road.
On average, there are three fires a year in the Hemet Unified School District. The three fires in 2018 have increased that number, and were no exception.
The Highland Ranch fire had five alarm points and was 100 percent contained by 11:30 a.m., according to officials.
The Highland Park Hills fire had four alarm points and was still out of control by 11:30 a.m.
The fire at the Highlands Ranch Senior Center had three alarm points and was fully contained and destroyed by 11:43 a.m., according to officials.
Officials said the structure on the hill behind the Senior Center is used as an office space and for storage, but has been vacant since the February fire.
The four fires had been contained by 1 p.m.
In 2018, all were under control by 11:30 a.m., according to fire officials, who were at the scene to support the Hemet Fire Protection District.
Hemet firefighters were assigned to the fire at the Highland Ranch Elementary School, which was burning for about a half hour before it was contained. There are 20 to 30 firefighters on duty, and all are on the lookout for the next fire.
Although all four fires were contained by noon, the amount of damage from all four fires was significant.
The largest from the Highland Ranch blaze was estimated at $6.5 million. Of that, the Senior Center and Highland Park Hills Elementary School fire was worth $3.3 million, and the Highland Park Hills Elementary School fire alone cost $2.3 million, according to officials.
Hemet fire officials said they could not determine the cause of the fires, but said they had ruled out human errors.
“Our crew members are extremely grateful