Saturday, March 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

July 4 fire shakes up Collinsville residents

6 collinsville fire 1

Ruth Baldetta, center, looks over the remains of her home after it burned down with neighbor Christy McKarley, left, and daughter Suzanne Jones in Collinsville, Saturday. The July 4 fire destroyed at least five homes but caused zero casualties. Baldetta said her home was about 75 years old. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | July 06, 2014 |

COLLINSVILLE — Rose Papetti Curreri remembers when her town burned down more than 75 years ago. The Collinsville native was only about 12 when flames hopped over the shingled roofs of the small Delta community in the 1930s.

“The same property burned,” she said.

The 90-year-old watched history repeat itself, Friday, as a wind-swept fire tore through several homes on the Fourth of July.

“This one, it was all red flames and a lot of smoke,” she said. ” . . . The smoke was really black, and it was up high – and it sure was hot.”

The summer home of Curreri, who was spending the weekend with family, was spared. But her neighbors weren’t so lucky. The fire was quick to work its way over several homes, boats and vehicles, leaving residents cleaning up Saturday.

“(There was) more damage now than there was a long time ago,” Curreri said.

Ruth Baldetta lost everything, including her dogs and kittens. The home she shared with her son, his wife and their two young children was reduced to charred rubble.

“It’s all gone,” she said.

The family wasn’t home when the fire broke out Friday afternoon. Baldetta was running an errand out of town and the others were on a boat trip when she got a call from her neighbor reporting that a fire was burning a nearby house.

‘They said, ‘Yours is probably next.’ But I couldn’t make it over here in time to get my dogs,” Baldetta said. “That’s what I wanted, was my dogs.”

Montezuma Fire Protection District Chief Joe Rosewall said he thought Baldetta was in the house when he broke down her door during the fire.

“We got there, smashed the front door in, but the heat was so heavy in there, and the smoke was so heavy in there, that we couldn’t go inside,” he said.

Fire crews were dispatched at 1:30 p.m., and when they arrived one structure was already involved, Rosewall said.

“It moved through there real quick, the wind was pretty strong there at that time,” he said.

Rosewall said winds of about 15 to 20 mph helped spread the fire, and after about 30 minutes most of the damage was already done. He said the fire totally destroyed eight homes and damaged three. The damage estimate is $2.5 million.

About 25 people were displaced, he said, and the American Red Cross stepped in to help. No firefighters or residents were injured.

“The only (lives) that were lost were pets, dogs, cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs,” he said.

Baldetta lost two Chihuahuas, birds and four kittens. Her son also had three dogs that died in the house, but the goats and chickens on the property were spared.

“Some of those people lost everything they had except what they had on their back,” Rosewall said.

There are only about 20 homes in Collinsville with a few vacancies, so the blaze practically wiped out half of the town along the Sacramento River that carries a tradition of fishing and the fame of Joe DiMaggio’s one-time residence.

“Everybody here knows everybody,” said Barbara Fischer, Baldetta’s daughter.

Fischer was helping her family comb through the rubble, Saturday, but there wasn’t much that could be salvaged. While Baldetta stood near some melted record albums, one of her daughters uncovered what was left of the grandchildren’s piggy bank.

Fischer was trying to hold back the tears.

“(Mother’s) motto is, “Never get attached to material things . . . but it’s the memories we lost,” she said.

“That’s what’s good about a brain,” Baldetta said. “You have memories.”

The family wasn’t allowed to return to the property until Saturday when they would see what was left of the old home that had been in the Baldetta family for generations.

“We kind of knew what to expect, but, still, it’s so heartbreaking when you see it up front, close . . . personal,” said Fischer, who lives in Lodi.

“It is, but I expected it,” Baldetta said. “I’ve already accepted it, what can I do?”

“The only thing is the dogs,” said Fischer. “That’s the very saddest part.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 10 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • elleryJuly 06, 2014 - 1:10 am

    How did this fire start? You have to be nuts to live in Collinsville in the first place. Which one of them started this thing ?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EMSgirl64July 06, 2014 - 1:45 am

    What a rude comment! You insult the residents of Collinsville yet you're all nosey about how it started? Like you care! Get a life! Rude, miserable people like you never have anything nice to offer or say. Sad.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MikeJuly 06, 2014 - 6:36 am

    So sad for this tight-knit community. Glad to hear no residents were physically hurt in this tragedy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KJuly 06, 2014 - 9:50 am

    The fire's origin is still unknown, the article says. I'd say, Columbo or Adrian Monk isn't needed to figure this one out. Even Ray Charles could have seen it. Come on, 4th of July weekend>>>FIREWORKS, legal or ILLEGAL, both bad IMO. Let just hope that remnants of the, "SaFe & Sane," variety sold in Suisun, weren't the cause. If so, Suisun ought to be held liable IMO!!!!!!! The same probably is the cause of all if not most of the fires in the news. All of them should be ILLEGAL, and the use of ANY should result in a 30 day lock up in the county jail. Don't like or agree with my comments, then turn your head AWAY!!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JazzAzzJuly 06, 2014 - 9:53 am

    I totally agree!!!!! Thank goodness my little pet is either getting hard of hearing at near 15, or just has gotten used to it, but the sounds of what were obviously M80s, exploding around Gadwall in Suisun, didn't awaken him, next to me on the sofa, but sure as heck made me jump, dang them (@#$%^&*) A__HOLES!!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RingoJuly 06, 2014 - 9:56 am

    Yeah, maybe the neighbors ought to create their own, BOOOOOM, by leveling a shotgun directly at those firing off that garbage, since the police can't handle it, obviously, all around town.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalJuly 06, 2014 - 6:25 pm

    SK, if you sold someone your car and they go out and get drunk and kill someone, should you be held legally liable?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KJuly 06, 2014 - 6:37 pm

    If it were my car, I probably could, would be held responsible, my car, my insurance, and maybe my pockets would be deeper, as Suisun's pockets probably are compared to who may have lit the stuff, IF IT were Suisun's sold, "Safe & Sane," garbage.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Ulises S. GuberJuly 06, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    You guys are so determined to condemn Suisun City and the Safe and sane fireworks. Some how you are convinced that only fireworks start fires, most fires are started by discarded cigarette butts from passing motorists . Conditions also factor in, Tall dry grass with poor or no fire breaks too close to structures with well aged wood shingles, siding and a strong breeze + 1 spark = fire storm no matter what the source of the ignition is... People are pissed off with the noise of illegal fireworks going off at all hours but then they condemn the safe and sane fireworks bought by FAMILIES , mom's and dad's who follow the rules and the map of where you can and can't use legal fireworks. I'm sure it wasn't some mom & dad with their little ones that started this fire, it could be anything, a spark from power lines, a lawn mower hitting a rock, a kid playing with matches, a teen smoking weed, a unattended BBQ, a car repair gone bad, a kitchen fire, perhaps S.K., JazzAzz or Ringo tossing a lit cigarette butt out while driving thru Collinsville ... hmmm.......

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SKJuly 06, 2014 - 10:22 pm

    I know that myself and none of those other two smoke, or was dumb enough to run a lawn mower in high dry grass that day. It will be interesting to see if they come up with a reason, evidence of a cigarette butt, or a Safe & Sane wrapper. We'll have to wait and see, if anything. I feel real sorry for the good folks out there though, no matter the cause.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fraisure Smith hearing delayed twice Friday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Luncheon honors women for their work to help others

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Sheepdogs, handlers flock to Rio Vista for trials

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano Rotary clubs honor top firefighters from across county

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Eatery to host event to support child with cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Project begins to brighten downtown Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

April workshops set for Train Station Project

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: March 26, 2016

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun police log: March 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Going home to mother

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Chances of being locked up vary widely across California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Jury says Silicon Valley firm did not discriminate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Video shows ‘hospitality ambassador’ beating homeless man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Gov. Brown signs $1 billion water plan for dry California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
California woman, friend charged in alleged baby-theft plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Public defender: San Francisco jail inmates forced to fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
NY mayor: Someone may have ‘inappropriately’ tapped gas line

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Feds: Baltimore jail illegally keeping juveniles in solitary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Autopsies determine children found in freezer were slain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fetus debate looms following charges in womb-cutting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pugnacious Reid retiring, wants Schumer as Senate Dem leader

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Senate OKs Republican balanced-budget plan, following House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
‘Sopranos’ star’s apartment destroyed by blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pilot who scared passengers sues airline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

‘Mad Men’ costumes, props head to Smithsonian

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US economy showing signs of durability

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Mexico City businesses cite losses during Bond filming

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Comedian Gardell hosts game show version of Monopoly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Nelson set to return to role as Coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
German airline could face ‘unlimited’ damages for Alps crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
About 4,000 fishermen stranded on Indonesian islands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Iran says nuke talks focused despite Yemen crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

At least 9 dead as militants attack hotel in Somali capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italy high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

An open letter from Galileo to Ted Cruz

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8

 
Belgium’s foreign minister dresses up in blackface

By Ishaan Tharoor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Today in History: March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: March 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

My elderly mother is so stingy I’m finding excuses not to visit her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
The newest fitness trend: Mixing it up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Entertainment

‘Stomp’ stopped by NYC blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Mannequin museum show hits New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
‘Teen Mom’ star charged in picture posting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

People: Zane Malik

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Larry David Broadway role handed to Jason Alexander

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Notre Dame beats Stanford women 81-60, advances to Elite Eight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New Rodriguez head football coach introduced

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

Curry, Thompson lead Warriors in rout over Grizzlies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Evans helps desperate Pelicans end skid vs. Kings, 102-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Ranuado goes 6 for Rangers’ but A’s rally for 7-6 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A-Rod’s cousin pleads guilty in Florida steroids case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Durant to have another surgery, miss rest of season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chicago rooftop owner charged with trying to defraud Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gift returns: Sterling wife wants house, $1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shaq acknowledges regret about decision to leave Magic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NASCAR topic: Cheating with tire pressure, or just hot air?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hot Rod Hundley, former NBA player and Jazz announcer, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Area resident Jimmy Walker takes lead in Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Logano wins Martinsville pole; Elliott to start 27th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Home Seller 3/28/2015

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for March 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2