A fire was set, apparently by three kids, in Belgatos Park this afternoon. (Whether by accident or on purpose remains to be known.)  Homes were evacuated along Santa Rosa and flames got terribly close to houses on Westhill Drive, but fortunately no residences were harmed by the blaze.  Fire fighters arrived by land and air very quickly, and within an hour, the fire was under control.

Bacigalupi Fire 500 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive. Photo by Trish McCauley trish.mccauley@gmail.com

At the time of its eruption, I was in central San Jose at a listing presentation.  When I got out, around 4:30pm, I checked messages and had a text from my friend and wonderful pet-sitter, Trish McCauley, who alerted me to the situation. She also took a couple of photos.  At left is one she took from Bacigalupi Drive at the intersection with Belwood Gateway.

Luckily, though, the word got out about the fire via social media, too:

For those of you who are on Facebook, there’s a group called Belwood Area Residents with great info shared. Pauline Wilson broke the news there at 3:33pm today.  Photos posted by Dave Klenske of the work going on to contain the fire by air and the smoldering fire too. If you are on FB and a resident, join the group if you haven’t done so already and have a peek at his pics: http://www.facebook.com/groups/105901399446505/

Mention was also made on the Nextdoor site for the neighborhood too by Kate Carr – many thanks for spreading the word!  (If you haven’t joined, please do!)  Http://www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com.

(Unless you happen to be connected to someone who sees the fire and alerts you, it’s great to get an update by a large group of neighbors such as we find on Nextdoor and Facebook, so I highly encourage everyone to join both sites.)

Back to our household –  Jim was out at an appointment at the same time that I was, too, but when we converged at home, he and our daughter, Clair, walked up to the park to see what, if anything, was still going on. He spoke with Ranger Dave Gray, who said that 3 kids (appx age 10?) were seen running from the area when the fire started.   Jim also  chatted with a neighbor, who said she saw the kids running away and explained that they were “young teenagers”.

Clair, meanwhile, kindly took a lot of photos for me so that I could share them with anyone else who wasn’t around when everything happened.  Below are the photos she took for this blog.

Belgatos Fire July 23 2012 500 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 500 300x199 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.

Firetrucks close up 500 300x199 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

There were multiple fire trucks and other vehicles from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, but also helicopters and planes from the CDF involved today.

Ranger Dave Gray 500 300x227 - Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, fire cleanup

 

UPDATE:  Patch Los Gatos reports today that 3 14 year old boys were involved, one of whom started the blaze using lighter fluid.  The teen, a resident of San Jose, was arrested, charged with felony arson and has since been released to his parents.  Read the article here:
http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/fire-at-belgatos-park-burns-3-acres