Orleans Neighborhood Area Deemed Safe After Hazmat House Fire

Orleans, CA – After a chemically-fumigated house north of Orleans caught fire late last week causing nearby residents to evacuate the area, officials from the several responding agencies said that the area had been deemed safe, though the house was completely destroyed by the flames.

The incident began around 10:30 a.m. on Friday after a two-story house being fumigated with sulfuryl chloride on the 1700 block of Ishi-Pishi Road caught fire. The cause of the fire is currently unknown at this time and has not been deemed suspicious as of Monday afternoon.

CalFire Public Information Officer Laura Coleman said : “It was tented at the time the fire started,” she said. “We don’t know if that has anything to do with the start of the fire.”

Three people were very close to the house at the time it caught fire, causing them to inhale the chemically-laden smoke.

Hazardous materials specialist Jon Verbeck of the county Department of Health and Human Services Environmental Health branch responded to the scene and found that the three individuals had been treated and released. Due to the house having been fumigated for three days before the fire began and being in the process of having the tent removed, Verbeck said the risk was diminished, but that the chemical was still a danger.

Coleman added that one of the reasons to let the house burn was due to the hazardous chemicals in the smoke, which presented a risk to firefighters and the environment.