Fairfield residents cope with losses from 7-alarm fire


Some residents are blaming the city or another public agency for their losses, claiming they did not do their part to create defensible space behind these homes.

In the meantime, residents are assessing the damage from the fire that showed a rather random tendency. One house left mostly unscathed while another home, just a few feet away, destroyed.

A small trike is about all Martin Lalor could salvage from his gutted home on Marigold Drive, one he shared with his young daughter, girlfriend, and mother. Lalor is grateful his family is okay, but devastated by such a complete loss.

"I was hoping that you know, you know the roof fell on top of my bed and my bed fell on top of my guitars that were in cases, but I just picked up some of my guitars and they were just burnt to a crisp," fire victim Martin Lalor.

A look at the fire at its height from SKY7 HD showed several homes fully involved. 15 homes in all were damaged, including five left uninhabitable by Tuesday's frightening fire.

"I feel very blessed and very fortunate," Fairfield resident Shirley Hatton said.

Hatton lives next door to a home that was completely gutted. Hers just a step away, survived mostly unscathed. Firefighters even rescued her dog.

"I feel very sorry for especially the ones right next door, because they've lost everything," Hatton said.

Many residents think a 30-foot wide strip of tall grasses between the sound wall and the homes is to blame for the rapid spread of the fire, and they believe the city was responsible for maintaining it.

Fairfield Battalion Chief Matt Luckenbach responded to those concerns stating, "Yeah we've received that claim from several folks. We are going to provide that answer, but we want to provide it one time and not have to backtrack on it, so we are in the process of determining who exactly is responsible for that area."

Investigators are also trying to determine the cause of the fire. They know it started next to Interstate 80, but still don't know the exact source. It could have been something as simple as a spark or a discarded cigarette from a passing car.

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