Mar 20, 2010 8:49 PM
Update: We now now the name of the victim in this fire. According to Cal-Fire, Donald Barnett died in his home Saturday morning. Barnett was a retired pilot for Cal-Fire from 2000 to 2005 in the Tehama-Glenn unit. Before working for Cal-Fire, he was a pilot for Aris Helicopters and served two tours in the U.S. army in Vietnam. He leaves behind his mother of Mendocino County and his sister of Sacramento.
Exploding glass and flames awakened residents at Northwood Commons Place on Lassen Avenue around 4:30 Saturday morning. A neighbor called 9-1-1 to report the fire at number 39. Five Chico fire engines, one Chico fire truck and two Cal-fire engines were used to attack the fire. When firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames, but, luckily they were able to stop it from spreading to the adjoining condo. "They did an excellent job, plus the construction of the unit also assisted in that it had a fire wall that was able to help slow the spread of the flames to the next door unit," Chico Fire Inspector Marie Fickert stated.
Once the flames were out, firefighters discovered a body inside. Fire officials are not releasing any information on the cause of death or who he was. However, neighbors say he was a private man. "He lived alone, he seemed to keep to himself, in passing by in our automobile I would wave, but I never knew him personally, I understand he was a former airline pilot I believe," Bob Stillwell said.
The fire has left neighbors stunned. "We haven't experienced this and it is a tragedy, I don't know if he had family, but it is sad," Stillwell explained.
The cause of fire is still under investigation.