firefighter dousing flames on upper dormer of River Road house which burned Saturday night, Oct. 29. Photos by Cid Castillo

Next morning, various officials including Idyllwild Fire Department Administrative Capt. Mark LaMont, seen in foreground assessed the damage and investigated the cause .
A house on River Road burned Saturday night, Oct. 30, but Idyllwild Fire (IFPD), with help from Riverside County Fire (RCFD), prevented it from spreading from trees to other nearby structures.

None of the residents, a mother and two children, were home when the fire was discovered.

“It was accidental,” said Idyllwild Capt. James Reyes, the incident commander for the fire, called the River Fire. “The source of ignition was at the fireplace.”

When Idyllwild Fire arrived at the scene the house was hot in flames, which prevented the firefighters from entering immediately. “The flames were already out the top of the house through a dormer,” said Idyllwild Fire Chief Norm Walker.

Flames were spreading to several trees adjacent to the house. Extinguishing these fires was one of the unit’s top priorities, according to Reyes.

By the time other engines from RCFD stations 23 (Pine Cove), 53 (Garner Valley) and 63 (Poppet Flat) arrived, IFPD had the fire 50 percent contained. IFPD had two crews respond along with its recently formed volunteer unit.


  1. The fireplace strikes again? My parents had this house built when my twin brother and I were teenagers, when I was 17 (only one at home at the time) saw smoke between wall & ceiling after building a fire. Called 911 & fire was put out before house was fully involved…bummer, that was a beautiful house.