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Paso Robles firefighter injured in structure fire

Posted: Thursday, Mar 28th, 2013

Fire crews put out flames as Atascadero resident Todd Pounder’s garage burns to the ground. A Paso Robles firefighter was injured while knocking down the walls after the fire was contained on March 23.

For The Paso Robles Press

ATASCADERO — A Paso Robles firefighter was injured while fighting a structure fire shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23 at 9055 San Rafael Road.

Upon arrival, crews found heavy fire and smoke coming from the large, single story home of Todd Pounder. The fire was already burning through the roof of the garage and quickly spreading to nearby vegetation.

“It was a total freak accident,” Pounder said. “I had put the fire out at noon time. I guess the fire got underneath the ground here. That’s what [the firefighters] said.”

Firefighters were advised by the property owner that gun powder, ammunition and welding tanks were inside the structure. Several small explosions were heard during the suppression efforts.

No reported injuries were related to the explosions, but a Paso Robles firefighter suffered a laceration to the right side of his face when a wall partially collapsed and struck the firefighter. He was treated at the scene and transported to Twin Cities Hospital by San Luis Ambulance where he received several stitches and was released.

“He got hurt pushing down the far corner of the building there,” Pounder said, pointing to the northeast corner of the remains.

After investigation, it was determined that the fire began outside of the garage when Pounder lost containment of his burn pile and nearby vegetation caught fire. Subsequently, the vegetation fire spread to the wood siding of the garage and began burning through the timber of the home.

The Atascadero Fire Department was joined by Paso Robles, county and state hospital fire crews in response to the blaze. Once on the scene, the team of firefighters controlled the blaze within 25 minutes.

No other injuries were reported, although the loss to Pounder’s property was estimated at $205,000 of which $60,000 was personal property.

Pounder’s garage was more of a workshop and contained several valuable collections lost to the flames. Among the collections was a 1940 Buick Lasalle that Pounder was working to restore.

Pounder, after speaking with his insurance company, is doubtful his insurance coverage is sufficient to replace all of the damaged property.

“There’s not enough insurance,” Pounder said.

For information on fire safety and burn regulations, contact the Atascadero Fire Department at 466-5070 or go to www.atascadero.org/fire.

For the complete article see the 03-29-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-29-2013 paper.

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