A small fire that broke out in the kitchen of the Conrad Prebys Ramona Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego on Friday, Oct. 25, was quickly extinguished by the facility’s sprinkler system.
Ramona Fire Capt. John Sena said the fire started at about 5 p.m. when a small box was set on top of the kitchen’s stovetop. The box may have hit the stove’s knob and inadvertently turned on the burner, igniting the box, Sena said.
“Upon arrival at the scene we determined the fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system, but our dispatch was not delayed,” he said.
He said several firefighting units, including firefighters from Ramona, Deer Springs and Cal Fire, were able to respond quickly because they were nearby fighting the Sawday fire. That fire started at 9:20 near Sawday Truck Trail and Littlepage Road, but was 100 percent contained by 7 p.m. on Oct. 25. Sena said crews had just been released from the Sawday fire and were returning to their stations when they were dispatched to the Ramona Boys & Girls Club at 622 E St. in Collier Park.
Sena said there was an undetermined number of occupants inside the Boys & Girls Club but all of them were safely outside the building when firefighters arrived and there were no injuries reported. He said the children were placed away from the building and accounted for. As the parents arrived to pick them up, club Manager Simone McCune released them to their parents, he added.
The crews spent 45 minutes removing one inch of water left over from the sprinkler system.
Through a thermal imaging device, Sena said firefighters determined there was no heat in the walls and that the fire was contained to the stovetop and box, which was removed.
“The fire marshal had the building officially closed until the manager contacted the sprinkler company to replace the sprinkler head,” Sena said. “The Boys & Girls Club was closed on the weekend. By Monday, they had a company out to mitigate the water issue and replace the sprinkler head and then they were allowed to open back up.”
He said the Boys & Girls Club opened by mid-afternoon Monday. Club activities had resumed after the Monday opening, with some of the activities taking place outdoors as weather permitted.
However, flooding of the facility, along with high winds and power outages, contributed to the cancellation of the club’s Haunted House scheduled for Halloween evening, Oct. 31.
“We had flooding in our facility and are unable to operate inside or set anything up for the event,” said McCune on Facebook the day before Halloween. “We considered a last-minute outdoor event, but with the high winds and power outages we were unable to secure vendors and inflatables. We apologize for the late notice. We were putting in our best effort to try and salvage the event (and the money spent), but couldn’t prolong the possibility of cancellation any longer. Please spread the word, and again, we sincerely apologize.”