Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department
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.
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.
“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.
After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.
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.
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:
My husband, Jim, likes to joke that “if you like helicopters, live in Los Gatos“. We seem to be a chopper magnet, especially in the east Los Gatos areas near Belgatos Park.
Last Friday, and again yesterday, there was a helicopter apparently practicing something as it flew low over Belwood, Belgatos Park and the Santa Rosa Drive area in the hills at the end of Harwood Road. What were they doing?
This is not a new problem for us (and in fact I blogged about it on my Live in Los Gatos blog in the spring of 2007) but there are times I just want to scream at them to knock it off. I finally called the town of Los Gatos, was transferred to the non-emergency police line where a kindly officer said that he’d had a few complaints but no answers as to what was going on. “We’re trying to find out,” he assured me.
Like many, I vented a little on Facebook. One friend thought that the birds were there due to some sort of fencing project. Another suggested that it was a practice run for firefighters pretending to grab water from Lexington Reservoir to put out fires on the Sierra Azule range. Who knows.