El Centro homes threatened by brush fire

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Firefighters extinguish pockets of hot spots surrounding residential structures on East Evan Hewes Highway and Cooley Road on Tuesday east of El Centro.
JOSELITO N. VILLERO PHOTO 
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
EL CENTRO – Firefighters responded to a brush fire Tuesday afternoon that threatened surrounding residential structures on East Evan Hewes Highway and Cooley Road with temperatures soaring up to 114ºF.
Imperial County Fire Chief Tony Rouhotas said there were no injuries or fatalities. He said the fire department received an initial call at about 1:50 p.m. reporting a large unknown type of fire at the 200 and 250 block of East Evan Hewes Highway between El Centro and Holtville.
When fire engine units arrived on the scene, a few acres of vegetation were on fire including trees,  dried grasses, and piles of miscellaneous items along fence line properties. About five structures were in danger, according to Fire Chief Rouhotas.
In addition, residents in four residential houses were told to evacuate their properties. Once the fire was controlled, they were allowed to return. The cause of the fire was not available at press time.
Firefighters from El Centro, Calexico, Naval Air Facility El Centro, Centinela Prison, and multiple units from Imperial County responded to the scene.
A Sheriff’s patrol car was on scene directing traffic. Fire Chief Rouhotas said one lane was closed on East Evan Hewes Highway to allow fire engines access. Furthermore, there was smoke going across the highway that could be a visual hazard to motorists.
By 4:00 p.m., the fire was controlled and contained. However, firefighters stayed for another couple of hours mopping up pockets of hot spots inside burned areas.
“I just want everybody to be careful, ’cause it’s extremely hot outside right now. Clean up around your properties. Make sure you don’t have debris against your home or your neighbor’s house because it can have an impact as you can see here. And have a safe Fourth of July,” Fire Chief Rouhotas said.
Firefighters drink water during a break from extinguishing pockets of hot spots surrounding residential structures Tuesday on East Evan Hewes Highway and Cooley Road east of El Centro.
JOSELITO N. VILLERO PHOTO 
Tuesday, June 27, 2017