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Fire chars 17 acres in Claremont

Fire fighters battle a blaze that started at approximately 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, just north of Foothill Boulevard between Mills and Amherst avenues in Claremont. It took more than 150 fire fights from the Claremont and  County fire department roughly two hours to extinguish the fire, which consumed 17 acres of property owned by the Claremont Colleges. After the fire was out, fire fighters remained on site well into the night to extinguish any remains of the fire. / photo by Ryan Gann

Fire fighters battle a blaze that started at approximately 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, just north of Foothill Boulevard between Mills and Amherst avenues in Claremont. It took more than 150 fire fights from the Claremont and  County fire department roughly two hours to extinguish the fire, which consumed 17 acres of property owned by the Claremont Colleges. After the fire was out, fire fighters remained on site well into the night to extinguish any remains of the fire. / photo by Ryan Gann

Kat Simonelli
Assistant Editor

Karla Rendon
Assistant Editor

A small fire caused by a pipe accident on Foothill Boulevard turned into one of the largest fires that the Claremont area has seen in 10 years.

Starting around 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday, an initial quarter- to half-acre fire expanded to be a 17 acre fire across Harvey Mudd College’s Bernard Biological Field Station with an 8 mph wind.

The Claremont Police Department in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Fire Department was able to calm the fire within two hours.

“Our investigation thus far shows some workers on Foothill Boulevard were welding a pipe and had some sparks and so when they used a chop saw it generated more sparks and lit the brush along Foothill on fire,” said Claremont Police Chief Paul Cooper.

“The dry brush ignited and we had a pretty good wind so the wind started moving it,” Cooper said.

The fire department had three helicopters and two super scoopers dropping water from above the incident.

“To have that kind of water power in that short amount of time really helps us,” Assistant Fire Chief Dave Stone said.

Approximately 150 firefighters came to the scene and were working to extinguish the flames.

After the flames were doused, fireman stood overnight to ensure the fire was out.

The fire took place across the street from Harvey Mudd College and extended about a half mile from Dartmouth Avenue to Mills Avenue.

Meanwhile the fire took place, students continued with their studies since class had continued to be in session.

Although Harvey Mudd students were notified through their campus-wide “Mudd Alert,” some students were still unaware of what was happening.

Harvey Mudd College freshman Andrew Scott was doing homework unknowing of the event when the fire started.

“You could kind of smell the smoke and my roommates told me that there was a fire, but I hadn’t heard anything from the university about it,” Harvey Mudd freshman Andrew Scott said.

Although the fire reached as close as 300 feet away from the structures in the Biological Field Station, there were no injuries reported and no structural damage done.

Kat Simonelli can be reached at kathryn.simonelli@laverne.edu.

Karla Rendon can be reached at karla.rendon@laverne.edu.

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