Valley man loses home, dog in fire

Valley man loses home, dog in fire as firefighters stood by

NORTH SHORE, Calif. - "Everything that I had was in that house," said Rick Sena, whose mobile home in North Shore burned to the ground last week.

Sena lost all his family's belongings in the fire.

"All my memories, all my mom's stuff, all my dad's stuff because my parents were deceased, everything's gone," Sena said.

The biggest loss: Sena's dog, Champ, who was part of the family for years.

"Very emotional, I loved that dog," Sena said.

According to Sena, when firefighters arrived they wouldn't enter the property to put out the fire.

"I said, 'Why are you guys just standing there,' and they said, 'Oh, because the power line is down, we're not going to cross over it,'" Sena said.

We spoke on the phone with Cal Fire Battalion Chief Brad Casady, who was on the scene that night.  Casady said his crews followed policy to a tee.

When they arrived, they noticed a downed power line.  After making sure no one was in the home, they contacted Imperial Irrigation District to come de-energize the line.

But Sena said power was already off and it was safe to enter.

"There was no power there, I crossed over the power line three or four times."

Casady said they must treat all power lines as live until they have confirmation from the power company that it's safe to cross. But by the time IID arrived on scene and firefighters got the OK to go in, Sena's home was reduced to ashes. 
"I pay my taxes, I do everything I can to keep everything going in my life and I just have 15 trucks sitting outside my gate not doing anything," Sena said.

Casady expressed his condolences to Sena's family for the loss of their dog. He said firefighter safety is the number one priority and while they were able to contain the flames outside the power lines, their hands were tied until IID arrived.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and Sena did not have insurance on his home.

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