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Downed power lines slow Sutter County fire fight
Mikael Harned on Wednesday afternoon picked through the ruins of the burned out farm house where he grew up in rural Sutter County on Wednesday afternoon.
"There's a lot of stuff that you can't replace," the 28-year-old Harned said. "A lot of memories."
Fire broke out apparently inside a wall in the garage around 1 a.m. Wednesday at 4185 Sanders Road, about halfway between Live Oak and Sutter, according to Sutter County Fire Battalion Chief Rick Martin.
Harned's twin brother, Adam, suffered burns to his face, arms, stomach and feet. He was hospitalized at Rideout Memorial Hospital in Yuba City and was listed in fair condition, a hospital official said.
Authorities estimated damages between $500,000 and $600,000 and called the home a total loss.
"The family lost pretty much everything they had," Martin said.
Harned's mother, Lena, escaped without injury and is staying with nearby friends.
Adam Harned was staying in a studio apartment above the garage. Mikael Harned lives several miles away and didn't hear of the fire until around 6 a.m.
"They said they heard a big bang. My brother said it was like a grenade going off," Harned said, "and came out and saw the fire against the wall." Adam Harned suffered burns while trying to douse the flames with a garden hose.
No other injuries were reported, though the family has been unable to find their dog, a 13-year-old yellow Labrador named Gus.
"Maybe he just got scared off," Harned said.
About 40 firefighters responded from Sutter, Yuba and Butte counties. They finished mopping up the scene around noon.
Martin said the investigation was getting under way, but said the cause does not appear suspicious. Harned said it appears the cause may have been electrical.
Firefighting efforts were hampered by several power lines that had fallen across the driveway, blocking access to the home. Firefighters were forced to shoot one stream of water into the home from about 20 to 30 yards away while they waited for Pacific, Gas & Electric Co. crews to cut the electricity.
"They just had to sit there and watch it burn, basically, until PG&E showed up," Harned said.
Firefighters said it took about one hour for the utilities crew to shut down the lines. By then, most of the damage was done. The roof collapsed and the back of the home was nearly burned to the ground, leaving only charred piles of wood and mangled metal.
The family moved into the home around 1971. Fortunately, Harned said, the home was insured for fire protection.
It was still unclear if the family plans to rebuild, Harned said.
"We haven't thought that far ahead yet."
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.