Pacheco storage fire most likely human caused

At Pacheco Mini Storage on Pacheco Boulevard, personal possessions in more than 40 units are now in ashes.

"Family pictures, photos, heirlooms. There are people who have their work here. Their tools. Their livelihood. How they survive. And it's gone, said manager Kelly Van Schaik."

The storage facility is closed today, customers are asked not to come by yet for safety and security reasons.

"I feel devastated. It's not even my belongings. But I can't imagine all their stuff gone," she said.

The grass fire broke out about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday along Highway 4 near Interstate 680 in Pacheco on Caltrans land.

Fire investigators say it was human caused, but they don't know exactly how yet.

Firefighters say what happened is a good lesson in how poor vegetation management can lead to trouble.

They say the growth by the side the road where the fire apparently started had been cut back earlier in the year. But it all grew back, and was too high for this time of year.

"That's another lesson learned. Weed abatement is not a one time and done deal. It is something that needs to be done throughout the season to adequately protect properties."

Weed abatement between the hillside and structures would have given us more time to have gotten there," said Steve Hill, spokesman for the Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

The same conditions exist a few away where other businesses are nearby.

Firefighters say Contra Costa County is just as vulnerable as Butte or Sonoma Counties, communities devastated by recent wildfires.

"There is little differences between our fire risk and those in the counties to the north. Very little difference," said Hill.