Squatter nearly dies in Marysville building fire
Special to The Union
A man nearly died when a fire engulfed a building he was staying in Tuesday, exemplifying the issue of squatters inhabiting fire-hazardous buildings in Marysville.
Passersby saw smoke coming up from a building at Yuba and 13th streets around 12:30 p.m., then heard yelling from inside. The man inside was stuck, and someone ran over to help open the door so he was able to escape, Marysville Fire Chief Ron Karlen said Tuesday.
The building, which used to be a Caltrans facility, was supposed to be abandoned, Karlen said, and the man inhabiting the building apparently was unaware that a fire had caught. Personnel are still investigating the cause.
The 125-square-foot shed was stuffed with items and the flames spread to some nearby vegetation and trees. It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish. The man had some smoke inhalation but refused treatment. No one else was injured.
It’s the third fire at a property in the area suspected of being caused by homeless people inhabiting buildings that are supposed to be abandoned, Karlen said. The department even sent a letter to the property owner Tuesday in hopes of addressing the issue. And next week, the department will host a task force kickoff meeting between the city of Marysville, fire and police departments, and code enforcement to address other buildings in similar conditions, which pile on the fire department’s already high call volume and create public safety concerns.
“It’s become high traffic and a high priority for us to mitigate these hazards and blight buildings,” Karlen said.
Rachel Rosenbaum writes for the Marysville Appeal Democrat. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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