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County worker mowing weeds sparked brush fire that destroyed home

A Riverside County Transportation Department employee who was mowing weeds appears to have inadvertently sparked a brush fire that destroyed one Murietta home and injured firefighters
A Riverside County Transportation Department employee who was mowing weeds appears to have inadvertently sparked a brush fire Wednesday that destroyed one Murietta home and injured firefighters.

The mower became entangled in barbed wire along Tenaja Road, causing sparks that ignited the brush, said Battalion Chief Phil Rawlings of the Riverside County Fire Department.

"The county is providing its full cooperation as fire department officials continue their investigation and their efforts to bring the fire under control," a statement from Riverside County said. "Each year, the county works to reduce the chance of fire by clearing brush and weeds along roadsides. The fire is a tragedy for the residents whose homes are threatened and whose lives and families are being disrupted. County officials will do everything in their power to assist them."

PHOTOS: 'Volcano' fire destroys home

Riverside County fire officials said the so-called Volcano fire was fully contained at 8 a.m. Thursday.

More than 325 firefighters were battling the blaze late Wednesday with 39 engines, seven helicopters, six air tankers and three bulldozers. At least three firefighters were treated for minor injuries: an ankle wound, a minor burn and heat exhaustion, Rawlings said.

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-- Alex Zavis

Photo: Firefighters mop up after a brush fire ripped through a home in Murietta on Wednesday. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times

 
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