Abandoned house fires costly to extinguish for Bakersfield city firefighters

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Abandoned house fires are costing city fire crews thousands of dollars to fight, according to the Bakersfield Fire Department. 

On Wednesday an abandoned house in East Bakersfield caught fire for the third time.

Bakersfield fire crews and arson investigators were on scene at the house located in the 800 block of Kentucky Street. The fire did not spread to any other houses in the area.

"It was very very scary and I have some cats in the house and I couldn't get to my cats. I couldn't get back in here and I had to stay outside for two hours," said Ruth Adams who lives next door to the abandoned home. 

According to Bakersfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Danny Brown it can cost the city nearly $580 to fully extinguish an abandoned home. 

So far this year, BFD has had to fight 53 abandoned structure fires, which means in total the city has spent more than $30,000 these fires. 

"Homeowners are the biggest problem," said Brown. "Many times they aren't watching the home."

Bakersfield Code Compliance said the city doesn't have the money to tear down every vacant home. When they do decide to tear down an abandoned home the process to do so can take up to 45 day, which at times can leave room for many of these homes to catch fire, again. 

The total loss of the home on Kentucky Street was estimated at $150,000. The city said they will abate the home within 48 hours. 

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