Neighbors: transients were staying in burned Redding home

Aug 20, 2014 7:54 PM by Charlene Cheng

James Matthews had to think fast when he saw smoke outside of his martial arts school this morning.

"It was light smoke and thin, but I reached for the phone and called 911 and ran across the street to see if there's anybody inside of it," he said.

The vacant home on Victor Avenue didn't stand much of a chance.

It was already 50% involved when firefighters arrived on scene.

"Initially they started an aggressive interior offensive attack, which they quickly had to transition out of after about 10 minutes as the roof started to sag and the building started to become structurally unstable," said Michael Bachmeyer, a division chief for the Redding Fire Department.

Local business owners aren't surprised that something like this has happened.

In fact, many of them expressed frustration with the transient activity in the neighborhood.

"I watch people come and go at all hours on bicycles and making exchanges, coming very quickly, and then leaving very quickly," said Matthews.

"No one was living there but the transients were there and when it caught on fire, you can see two or three of them running out of there," added Russell Lee.

Lee has only owned Northern Trailer on Victor Avenue for three months, but trouble has already caught up to him.

"We have issues, we had some hose stolen, we've had people in the backyard where the trailers are at, just a lot of action at night, hard to keep them out of there," he said.

Neighbors say that police are constantly patrolling, but the problem has clearly gotten out of control.

"They really do care. They're trying to do a good job for us but it's ongoing and it's neverending," Matthews said.


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