Fire surprises chamber members

All was peaceful at the July 10 Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Victoria’s at the Heritage. Lunch had just been served and attendees were chatting when member Doug Lueck noticed smoke coming from the ceiling.

Then someone else saw flames and called out, “Everyone get out now.” Guests were immediately evacuated.

Employee Christian Garza, son of restaurant owner Alejo Garza, grabbed a fire extinguisher and headed up the ladder by the back door.

“They told us there were flames up there. I went up onto the roof with the fire extinguisher and put it out,” said Christian. “It was just a small fire, hardly any flames. I wasn’t scared.”

Kern County firefighters from Stations 74, 77, 73 and 75 converged on the scene within minutes of receiving the call, just before 1 p.m. Battalion Chief Mike Heffner was on the scene, as well as an officer from Kern County Environmental Health.

Fire Captain Tom Nicoll said the fire was under control before firefighters arrived. The crew of 11 responders made certain the fire was completely out, then left 20 minutes after arrival.

Nicoll said the fire “was caused by an electrical fire in an air conditioning unit and was isolated to that one unit. We had a very quick response. No one was hurt.”

Story First Published: 2012-08-08