A multi-million-dollar home was damaged, and more than 130 to 140 homes were threatened when a wildfire erupted Sunday afternoon in Chino Hills.
The 156-acre blaze, reported at 1:17 p.m. as it began to burn on a hill along the north side of Chino Hills Parkway near Falling Star Lane in the northern area of the city, was fully contained late Thursday afternoon.
The nearly 6,400-square-foot, $2.5 million home with large stained glass windows at 2035 Miramonte Court is owned by Chino dentist Arthur Forrest and his wife Toni Forrest.
They have lived in the home since 1992.
Chino Valley Fire Chief Tim Shackelford believes an ember from the brush fire got into the home’s attic, sparking the house fire just before 2 p.m. It was the only home in the neighborhood to suffer damage from the wildfire.
Firefighters called to the home initially had an issue with water pressure from the city’s hydrants.
“They did not run out of water,” Chief Shackleford said. “When there are 20 fire engines hooked up to the hydrants, and almost every street in the neighborhood had residents out with garden hoses, there’s going to be a decrease in water pressure.”
The on-duty Chino Valley Fire battalion chief Tim Stewart made a request to the city of Chino Hills to bump up the water pressure, which they did, according to the Chief Shackelford, but he said it was too late to save the house. Chino Valley Fire District’s community liaison officer and the American Red Cross were called to assist the family in their recovery.
Three firefighters – two from Cal Fire and one from Los Angeles County Fire Department – were injured in the blaze with bee sting injuries, Chief Shackelford said. Two were treated and released at the scene while the third required a trip to the hospital.
More than 200 firefighters were called to the blaze at its peak, Chief Shackelford said.
Firefighters had stopped forward progress of the fast-moving fire by 5:10 p.m. Sunday and spent the next several days dousing hot spots.
No evacuation orders were given.
Fire investigators believe a large bird collided with power lines, caught fire and landed in dry brush, sparking the blaze.
“After review of the power pole with Southern California Edison, it was determined there was not a transformer installed on the power pole, or involved in the fire as initially reported,” Chino Valley Fire spokeswoman Massiel Ladron De Guevara said Monday afternoon.
Wind-driven flames were pushed north over the hillside towards Chino Avenue, prompting a large response of firefighters from multiple agencies, including Cal Fire, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Ontario Fire, Rancho Cucamonga Fire and Rialto Fire departments.
“There was concern the fire was going to cross Chino Avenue,” Chief Shackelford said.
Two water-dropping helicopters and a plane dropping retardant were used to fight the flames Sunday afternoon.
By Monday morning, the fire was 65 percent contained. By Wednesday, it was 92 percent contained.
Chino Hills Parkway was closed from Falling Star Lane to Chino Avenue as was Chino Avenue from Chino Hills Parkway to La Sierra Drive.
Authorities opened Chino Hills Parkway late Sunday night. Chino Avenue was reopened Monday morning.
Cal Fire’s Forest Services will begin work this weekend to restore the burned area to its natural habitat, Chief Shackelford said.