Neighbors call for action after Stockton grass fire damages 2 homes, 3 outbuildings

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In 2020, a grass fire in the same area damaged eight homes.

STOCKTON, Calif. — The grass north of Harding Way and west of the neighborhood off Stanford Avenue in Stockton was still dry and overgrown Thursday, 24 hours after a destructive grass fire in the same area damaged two homes and three outbuildings.

“It’s so much dead brush back there, all it takes is for a small little flint to just strike up a fire,” said Joey Sloan whose house backs up to the grass area beside Union Pacific railroad tracks. “It was just a very scary, uneasy feeling.”

Even some of the people living down the street from where the flames first erupted said they were getting ready to evacuate if necessary Wednesday afternoon because unfortunately, the neighborhood has been through this before. Empty plots of land in the neighborhood where homes once stood are proof of that.

“In 2020, July 5, we had a major fire that took out eight homes, blew up cars, blew up motorhomes… I mean everything,” said Dana who declined to provide her last name but lives near the fire scene.

That fire started in the same grass area between the neighborhood and Union Pacific railroad tracks which is why neighbors can’t help but ask, why does this keep happening?

“Ever since, we’ve been working on getting these guys to clean up the back area of the railroad as well as you know, the houses that have high grass and stuff,” said Dana. “But (I’ve been) unsuccessful.”

Union Pacific, which is in charge of cleaning up the vegetation near its tracks, didn’t answer any of ABC10’s questions but sent a statement saying they’re investigating if the fire happened on their property. The railroad company says it allows people to notify them of non-emergency incidents like vegetation near tracks.

“I’ve contacted the Stockton Police Department. I’ve contacted the Sheriff’s Department. I’ve contacted code enforcement, the railroad, CPUC — everybody,” said Dana. “And I’m not getting any help.”

San Joaquin County says it received complaints about the Union Pacific property earlier in May.

An inspection deemed the area to be a fire hazard. The county sent a final notice to abate 11 days ago and Wednesday, when San Joaquin County’s fire warden was on his way to check the area, the most recent fire broke out.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation so it’s unclear if Union Pacific will face any repercussions. The County says a contractor will be in the area Friday to start abating vegetation growth.

“It’s just out of this world, it’s just crazy. Please help me,” said Dana.

That’s all Dana and her neighbors want — help before it’s too late.

“It’s worrisome. It makes you think twice about wanting to live here,” said Sloan. “Whatever the case may be, they need to take this situation seriously and they need to get on top of this pronto.”

A day after 2 homes burned and 4 years after 5 homes were destroyed in separate grass fires, the vegetation is still…

Posted by Gabriel Porras on Thursday, May 30, 2024

Stockton fire damages two homes | What We Know

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.