A downtown Ripon fire erupted on Watson Street in the early morning of Wednesday that destroyed three businesses and burned through apartments impacting 26 people.
Ripon District Fire Chief Tim Saul spoke about the fire. “It was too far ahead of us to put our guys in there and knowing everyone was out that was the mode we took. We were flowing over 5,800 gallons a minute at one point and we had to go to different fire hydrants to be able to supply all those ladder trucks that were flowing water, we couldn’t flow all that off of one hydrant,” Saul said.
Firefighters worked through harsh conditions of snow and wind. Ripon District Assistant Fire Chief Lee Jess explained the dangers firefighters overcame while working in 11 degrees. “Very difficult today. The cold, wind, the ice, people slipping, falling, a lot of things like that, that just make it hard to do our job,” Jess said.
According to Christopher Luvian, “I get up and I go to the door and there is a police officer and he’s saying to get out of our apartment that there is a fire next door. We don’t know how bad it is yet, but we pretty much lost our whole apartment. God works in mysterious ways and this can be a blessing in disguise because while we lost stuff as long as my wife and kids are alright we can’t complain too bad.”
Tita Amiti, who works for Kristina’s Family Restaurant, received a phone call early in the morning. “It’s a scary situation where you don’t know what’s going on when you get a phone call at 5:15 a.m.,” Amiti said.
The Ripon Chamber of Commerce is collecting donations such as plates, dishes, can openers, bedding, and feminine products to assist families affected by the fire. For a complete list of needed donations, click here.
[Image Via NDN]