Sand Fire burns historic house

Sparks from a tire blowout on Highway 58 started a wildfire near Tehachapi Tuesday afternoon.
We now know the cause of the Sand Fire burning near Tehachapi.

The fire has scorched 1,400 acres of brush and destroyed one house. Tehachapi Blvd. at Sand Canyon Road is closed because the bridge there was destroyed as well.

The cause of the fire is accidental according to the Kern County Fire Department.

A trailer being pulled on Highway 58 blew a tire and sparks from the wheel hit the pavement and ignited the blaze that consumed a historic house.

"The buildings, I had hoped, still had something left in them, gutted. The only thing standing is cement walls," said Dan Popejoy, the owner of the house.

The house was built in the early 1900s and has been in his family since the 1960s.

It has been their retreat away from home ever since he took over the house.

Not far away, the iconic "SS Minnow" off Highway 58 bears witness to the waves of fire that swept across its bow during the afternoon.

Earlier, Janice Luper told us she wasn't allowed up to her house where her teenage daughter was stuck.

To her relief, she was later allowed back in.

"Just being back home, making sure the kids are okay and putting dad to bed definitely takes a lot off your mind. It was coming directly towards us about a quarter of a mile. And, now the wind shifted east so it went pretty far east. It's just on the other side of this hill," said Luper.

And, headed toward thousands of acres of wind farms.

The weather calmed down as night fell, but with it came a different battle for fire crews.

"Definitely, we are limited in the amount of air resources we can use. However, due to the humidity and cooler temperatures, gives our hand crews more opportunity to put more fire lines in than they would ordinarily be able to during the day," said Capt. Derek Tisinger from the Kern County Fire Department.

Fire crews now have to upper hand in fighting the fire and at last check the fire is 15% contained. If the weather continues to be favorable, they expect full containment on Wednesday.
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