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Firefighters threatened at homeless encampment fire in Willows

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Willows Fire Department station

Willows Fire Department

WILLOWS, Calif. -   Firefighters from the Willows Fire Department were on their way to help out with the River Incident in Princeton on Saturday afternoon, when they drove around the corner and saw smoke from a different fire – from a homeless camp on Old 99 (Tehama St.) and Elm St.

Since the firefighters were so close they were able to quickly extinguish the vegetation fire at the homeless camp, keeping it under ½ acre. The fire was first reported at 3:18 p.m.

They were on the site for an hour and a half, and received help from firefighters from Artois and Orland who had also been ready to head out to Princeton, but stopped in Williams to help out before heading on to assist the fire fight on the Sacramento River.

Engineer Timothy Danley told Action News Now that the fire in Willows was caused by an illegal fire in the camp. He said fewer than a dozen people were camped there illegally. He said they are now displaced.

One of the campers physically threatened the Willows fire chief and an engineer who were there to fight the vegetation fire, said Danley. There were no weapons involved and no one was injured during the altercation.

Danley said a few homes in the area near the homeless camp were evacuated for a short time, but were then allowed back into their undamaged homes.

Lorraine is a long-time Northern California journalist who works weekends as an assignment desk editor and web producer.

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