Transient suspected in Grass Valley fire |

Transient suspected in Grass Valley fire

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

Firefighters ruled Thursday a blaze that consumed an unoccupied Grass Valley cabin with a history of transient break-ins was caused by a person.

Although who that person was and whether the fire was intentional remains to be determined, said Jeff Wagner, a Grass Valley Fire Department investigator.

“We are still investigating, but we don’t know if it was accidental or not,” Wagner said.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Ophir Hill and Nevada County Consolidated Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire on the 200 block of Fiddick Lane on the southeast side of town, according to Grass Valley Police Department dispatch reports.

When the four engines, ladder truck and duty officer arrived, they found a 300-square-foot secondary unit to a two-bedroom main structure fully engulfed, Wagner said.

The property had been purchased a few months ago by a Grass Valley owner, and in that time, multiple break-ins of people who slept there to stay warm had been reported. As the owner was fixing up the property, no electricity or gas utilities were running to the cabin, Wagner said.

“There is no other ignition source — no gas, no electricity, no lightning,” Wagner said.

“Every source of ignition has been eliminated … I am calling it human-caused.”

Even though no people were located at the scene, the fire was determined to have originated from the cabin’s bathroom. While Wagner would not say the fire was caused by transients, he said it was “completely possible.”

None of the owner’s belongings were in the structure when it burned, Wagner said.

Firefighters remained on scene for around three hours, Wagner said. When all was said and done, the structure remained standing, but damage was estimated at nearly $30,000.

“To repair the structure would be more than the cost to rebuild it,” he said. “The entire structure was involved in the fire.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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