Local News

Monday, Apr 06 2009 05:23 PM

Crime shorts: Arcing power line caused Target solar panel fire

By The Bakersfield Californian

Sunday April 5th 2009 at approximately 4:15 P.M., a call was received by the Kern County Fire Department for a commercial structure fire at Target on Rosedale Highway in Bakersfield. Approximately 22 Kern County and Bakersfield City Firefighters responded to the incident.

Upon arrival, fire crews were faced with a large column of thick black smoke coming from the roof area of Target. The crew made an immediate contact with the store's manager to determine if all of the employees and customers had evacuated the building. Crews then entered the building and made a systematic search to confirm that employees and customers had evacuated.

A ladder truck was set up and crews found that a row of solar panels on the roof had caught fire. Due to these panels still being energized with electricity, crews took precautions until they could be de-energized. After de-energizing the panels, crews found that some of the roof insulation had also caught fire. A small amount of water was then used while crews peeled back this affected area. Upon further investigation crews found that one of four pieces of conduit containing electrical supply lines, for a group of panels, had arced from an unknown electrical problem.

The cause is still under investigation.

-- Kern County Fire Department

On Monday morning, around 1:30 a.m., Deputies from the Metropolitan Patrol Division went to the 1300 block of Flower Street in East Bakersfield in an attempt to locate a group of subjects chasing another subject.

Deputies located a Hispanic male adult in is early 20's in the 1300 block of Flower Street suffering from various injuries. The victim, identified later as 20-year-old Gilbert Allan Sanchez, was transported to Kern Medical Center via amublance where he later died. No suspects were located at the scene.

Homicide detectives responded and are currently investigating this incident. If anyone has information regarding this incident they are urged to call Detective Olmos at 391-7603, or the Secret Witness Program at 322-4040. More information regarding this incident will be released as it becomes available.

-- Kern County Sheriff's Department

Around 12:46 a.m. Monday morning, deputies contacted Miguel Espinoza 20, of Bakersfield at Kern Medical Center where he was being treated for a stab wound to the stomach. Espinoza said while at the Fastrip store located at 2200 Niles, he was approached by two male subjects. The subjects began arguing with Espinoza. One of the subjects hit Espinoza in the face with a fist. The other subject stabbed him with a knife. Both subjects then ran North from the store. The subjects were not located. Espinoza's injuries were minor.

-- Kern County Sheriff's Department

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