Friday, October 24, 2008

inland heat

Vehicle explodes about 2:35 p.m. today on the 210 Freeway
in San Bernardino. No one was injured.

By Guy McCarthy

SAN BERNARDINO - From Upland to Beaumont, it's difficult to say who was warmest this afternoon in the Inland Empire.

Firefighters and inmate crews in the burned areas above Upland dealt with 94-degree heat, 6 percent relative humidity, and black widow spiders while they packed out 3,000 to 5,000 linear feet of hose from blackened slopes below Ontario and Cucamonga peaks.

Several hours later, more crews rushed to a brush fire that broke out about 3:20 p.m. at Lambs Canyon Road and Beaumont Avenue, according to CalFire-Riverside County spokeswoman Massiel De Guevara. No structures were immediately threatened.

A number of roadside vehicle fires were reported on freeways across Southern California today, and the 210 in San Bernardino was no exception.

Unfortunate but still lucky to be alive, Manuel Gurrola, 77, of San Bernardino said he drove over a mattress that got caught under his vehicle and he could not pull over right away.

By the time he stopped on the eastbound shoulder of the 210 at about 2:35 p.m., just west of Muscupiabe Drive, sparks from the bed springs and heat from the undercarriage set the vehicle aflame.

"He got out but he didn't want to move away from the flames at first," said Christina Perez, 20, who pulled over with her father Joaquin to help if they could. "My father got him to back off some, and that's when it exploded. We're glad he's okay."

San Bernardino Medic Engine 223 arrived within minutes, and Firefighter Nick Munoz doused the vehicle and roadside brush ignited by the flames.

The latest report from Beaumont was the brush fire had burned 50 to 100 acres, with no containment estimate shortly before 5 p.m., De Guevara said in a phone interview.

Burned slopes today below Cucamonga Peak.

Slideshows are here and here. Photos by Guy McCarthy.


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