22 fire update 1

Heather Thornton, bottom left, looks over the remains of her home in Cordelia, Saturday. Thornton's home burned down in Friday's fire. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)


Fire victims pick up pieces in Cordelia

By From page A1 | June 22, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A Cordelia couple was trying to salvage what they could Saturday, a day after a fire reduced their home to a pile of blackened rubble.

“You found my ring,” Heather Thornton said after her husband Evan produced the engagement ring that she had put away in a jewelry case.

“I was looking for the blade of my knife and found a little box,” he said.

The case was burned, but the diamond ring was still encased.

Heather Thornton’s emotions were fragile after they lost their home to the fire that spread from the other side of Interstate 680 and took down their house and several outbuildings. Evan and Heather Thornton had recently wed at the courthouse, but were planning an October ceremony in their backyard.

“I can’t believe it. That’s crazy. How does he find this?” she said to her mother, Amy Montana, who also lived in the home.

Montana said they lost everything in the fire and only managed to salvage a few tools and the ring from the rubble.

“I lost everything, the kids lost pretty much everything,” she said. “We just had a minute to get out. I filled my backpack with dialysis supplies and we had to get out.”

Heather Thornton said she could feel the heat from the approaching fire while they were leaving. Her husband had to go back for the car keys and they grabbed her wedding dress before finally getting away.

“It’s all I have left – and this,” she said, holding her new-found ring.

The five-acre fire started about 3:45 p.m. Friday on Lopes Road on the west side of Interstate 680, said Cordelia Fire Chief Jay Huyssoon. It jumped the southbound lane, got into the median and jumped to the other side of the interstate, where one house burned along with at least four outbuildings, he said.

Reported winds of up to 35 mph and tall, dry grass fueled the blaze, he said.

The fire spread through the backyards of a pocket of homes on Cordelia Road at Central Way and moved to the Thornton house. Fire crews managed to keep the blaze from burning homes on Thompson Court, just north of the field.

Huyssoon worked to keep the fire from Thompson’s Corner, which is next to the Cordelia Fire Protection District station. He said if Thompson’s Corner would have caught on fire, the fire station would have as well.

“The 1939 burndown of Cordelia wasn’t going to happen on my watch,” he said.

Cordelia resident Shamar Baz said her Thompson Court home sustained some damage.

“Our whole house is melted on the side,” she said.

Baz said the fire took down a shed that contained all her work materials for her party-planning business.

“I lost my whole business,” she said.

Thompson’s Corner will donate 10 percent of its sales to fire victims Sunday and Monday. To donate to the Thorntons, visit www.gofundme.com/ajz4vo.

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.

Discussion | 16 comments

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  • Dawn VelikoniaJune 22, 2014 - 7:08 am

    Nice article. Praying for Gods peace, joy, and restoration for these families.

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  • mike gregorJune 22, 2014 - 8:40 am

    Get in line to sue for this negligence. Would have been cheaper just to mow. Ya think ? In fact all homeowners next to the freeway should sue for potential fires that might happen to them in the future. Why do they have to learn the hard way ?

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 22, 2014 - 10:52 am

    So the person that started it is not accountable?

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  • cindy paceJune 22, 2014 - 10:58 am

    wow, ok thompsons mighty big of your owner to give 10% of two days earnings, maybe he should be offering the family that was burned out of their rental . money to move into a new place. that whole block look like it was owned by a slum lord. while you sit up on your hill in green valley .the people in that area have been complaining about all the garbage and the over grown weeds just last week.and the fence and garden barn that burned down next to your property.I'm sure that family are also stressed.I hope the fire marshal stays on top of this.

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  • CD BrooksJune 22, 2014 - 11:23 am

    Ms. Pace, what is your problem? Thompson's is not obligated to do anything. They are giving back to their neighbors. What a rude and ungrateful thing to say!

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  • Christine in FFJune 22, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    Where's the dang "like" button? The one's that complain that not enough is given by businesses, organizations, or individuals are the same people that don't give one freaking cent! How much or what have you donated Ms. Pace? Please inform us on what an unselfish, caring individual you are!

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  • JamesJune 26, 2014 - 9:17 am

    First off, you people have no idea what you are talking about. The owner of Thompson's Corner owned the house that burnt down. He is being generous by donating 10% of his earnings && then some to the couple that lost everything. Just because the news/newspaper isn't reporting ALL THE FACTS, don't jump to conclusions. I live in Cordelia, I live in the court right there. I was close to losing everything as well. How is the person who started the fire going to be held liable WHEN KNOW ONE KNOWS WHO IT WAS!? probably just some douche bag who flung his/her cigarette out the car window. Who knows where that person is now. Cindy Pace, when your house burns down, since you are so ungrateful for the nice things the owner of Thompson's Corner has done for this family, i'll be sure to NOT help you since you more than likely wouldn't appreciate it.

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  • mike gregorJune 22, 2014 - 11:33 am

    Who or what started the fire and how can anyone be held accountable ? It boils down to the city / county / state not doing their job. Hate to think what will happen 4th july

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  • Adrienne HarrisJune 22, 2014 - 12:12 pm

    Thanks for your comments. Mike, there's no official cause of the fire at this time but Cordelia Fire District Chief Jay Huyssoon said it started in the vicinity of a park-and-ride lot off Lopes Road where cigarettes are frequently discarded.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 22, 2014 - 12:32 pm

    Mike, I drove by there this morning on the way to Costco. It started, as Adrienne said, between Lopes Road and I-680 South, approximately across the street from the AT&T office. It's hard to imagine what other than a cigarette was the proximate cause. Unfortunately, that individual will never be held accountable. It's easy to blame Caltrans, the county or the property owner. And certainly, every effort should be made to mitigate the fuel that allows fire to spread. I just don't want people to lose sight that the primary responsibility is with the person that started it.

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  • MikeJune 22, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    I hope everyone who reads this story will take it upon themselves to report smoke or a fire as soon as they see one developing. A firestorm is not unlikely with all the dry brush throughout the state.

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  • JagJune 22, 2014 - 7:51 pm

    Let’s get some Vacaville prisoners or some welfare people out to cut weeds down.

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  • jillJune 23, 2014 - 12:21 pm

    The reception was to ne in their back yard. The ceremony was to be at our church. "Amy Montana" is actually Heather Montano.

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  • a friend of the familyJune 23, 2014 - 3:46 pm

    Instead of criticizing the local government or property owner, for such a freak occurrence, do something more constructive with your time. Its people like Mr. Gregor and Ms. Pace who will criticize from a far about negligence and responsibility and then do nothing themselves. I urge you two to quick talking about it, and be about it. Rather than mocking the "powers that be" try helping your fellow man.

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  • JamesJune 26, 2014 - 9:21 am

    "Amy Montano" is ACTUALLY "Nicol Montano" THANKS! & "Heather Montano" is now "Heather Thornton"

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