Business, home, several vehicles destroyed in South Carson City
The only commercial structure burned by the Waterfall fire as of Thursday afternoon was a partially empty building in southwest Carson City, leaving surrounding owners shaken but open for business.
The 20-foot-tall, wooden building, located at 291 Rhodes St. and owned by Dean Anderson, was formerly used by Presto Auto-Electric. Owners James and Barbara Campbell were in the process of moving the business to Centennial Park Drive.
“We didn’t get much sleep last night,” she said. “But it could have been a lot worse. Nobody was hurt. No life was lost. Equipment can be replaced – a person cannot.”
The couple’s machine-shop equipment was still located in the back of the burned building. They had planned to move it on Saturday. They lost a forklift, hoist and many other pieces of equipment.
“We’ve lost probably 30 percent of our income, but thank God it wasn’t worse,” said Barbara Campbell.
As the fire crested the ridge on C Hill Wednesday afternoon, residents and business owners along Rhode Street raced to create fire breaks. Tom Borst used a backhoe to clear sagebrush around his two houses – one where he lives with his family, another he rents out.
The two-story rental – home to an unidentified man and his two children – was destroyed. Inside Borst’s home, black ash coated childrens’ beds and the kitchen counter Thursday.
He also made a fire break in front of Anderson’s buildings.
“When the fire jumped that fire break like it wasn’t even there, I knew it was time to get out,” Anderson said.
He also owns the building at 2578 S. Curry St., which houses Liaison Salon and Day Spa, his heating and air-conditioning business and a few others. As he was moving trucks away from the blaze he heard explosions at the building.
“I thought the trucks were blowing up at first, but it was these air conditioners. When they started blowing up I thought this building was going to go down.”
The building survived, he said, because it’s made of nonflammable cinder blocks and metal siding. Businesses to the north were also damaged. Flames melted plastic siding off another building owned by Anderson which houses Sierra Jujitsu and Karate. S&W Feeds lost about 500 bales of hay.
“And we have to replace all of our feed,” said owner Stan Kolbus. “The vendors think it’s a liability because there was so much smoke in here.”
He said all the feed would be replaced by this morning.
Greenhouse Garden Center was operating at full capacity Thursday despite scorched fences and burned pallets. Employees watched on television as buildings in the area burned.
“It was scary. I was almost in tears,” said employee Sharon Pranzo. “I didn’t know if I was going to have a job to come back to.”
A house just north of S&W Feeds on Curry Street was also threatened. Crystal Knight watched the flames come up to her back fence.
“I came out the back door and saw 10-foot flames and said, ‘Now we gotta go!'” she said.
Farther south in the Carson Indian Colony, several vehicles and outbuildings burned but no homes.
“My shed burned completely and the corner of my car melted,” said Robert B. Martinez at 2800 Boyle St. His house was without electricity Thursday.
SBC and Charter Communications crews were working on new utility poles along Betts Street.
Jean “Yetta” McNicoll wasn’t sure what to bring when she had to evacuate the home she helped build in the 1970s.
“The whole house is precious, so what do you bring?” she asked. She saved willow baskets and cradle boards made in the Washo tribal tradition.
She thanked a fire crew from Washoe Valley.
“They did everything to protect my home. I want to thank them special.”
Reports early Thursday that two commercial structures burned were unfounded, fire information officers said. Reports by television news crews that Rupert’s Auto Body was destroyed were incorrect.
Contact Karl Horeis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.