Man burned in fire
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 07, 2013 | 5245 views | 4 4 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fire destroys shed
The charred remains of a shed at 435 Beverly Place sit empty on Tuesday, May 7..  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A 50-year-old man suffered second and third degree burns during an early morning fire Tuesday, May 7, at a vacant lot in central Tracy.

Firefighters responded to 435 Beverly Place around 1 a.m. for smoke that was coming from a wooden garage on the property, according to Division Chief Dave Bramell of the Tracy Fire Department.

Within 10 minutes of arriving, firefighters extinguished the flames using two engine companies and a ladder truck, he said.

The victim was allegedly burned while trying to put-out the fire before crews could arrive, Bramell said.

Sgt. Ryan Knight, of the Tracy Police Department, said the man was found on “an adjacent property.”

Knight said Tuesday that the victim was flown by medical helicopter to an undisclosed hospital.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to Bramell.

He said it appeared that people may have been squatting in the building and possibly using fire as a heat or light source.

According to Ana Contreras, Tracy code enforcement manager, police officers were called to the same address on Friday, May 3, for two alleged trespassers.

Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman confirmed on Tuesday that the burn victim was of the men who were living on the property.

Contreras said the men were given two hours to gather their belongings and vacate the building.

“Without utilities, it’s deemed a substandard structure, and living in a garage is not an allowable use,” she said.

A vacant order was posted on Friday, however Knight said that no criminal charges will be filed.

Code enforcement has ordered the property owner to demolish the structure, according to Contreras.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or
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May 09, 2013
So Sneaky, I guess by your thinking we should we do away with building & safety codes to where an apartment complex owner can allow the electrical, spinkler systems, etc to become unsafe yet still rent units and not have any culpability when all the tenants die in a fire.

Do you actually believe it would be the tenants fault? Do you think it's the tenants responsibility to verify the condition of wiring hidden behind drywall or check the functionality of a fire sprinkler system?

While we're at it let's do away with the CA labor codes and workers comp law. Yea, let's make it the responsibility of the employee to pay for their own work related injuries - I mean it's their stupidity/carelessness which causes their injuries, right?

Look, I'm all for limited government but quite honestly people with your view scare me a bit as we need regulation to some extent and building codes in my opinion is one of those areas.
May 12, 2013

I didn't say that I would eliminate all regulation. Probably only 90% of it. ;) An apartment complex would be a completely different situation. In the case of a single family home only its owners and perhaps a few family/friends are going to be impacted by any shortcomings in its condition and most of those folks would probably be quite aware of the conditions. With an apartment complex you are talking about a business which could impact hundreds of residents and where its residents probably have little awareness of its condition. Lets face it apartment dwellers destroy everything around them and are largely oblivious to the fact that they live like rats. The latter case does deserve a bit more regulation.

May 08, 2013
This is probably the worst article to comment on in arguing for less regulation of private property but here goes.

“Without utilities, it’s deemed a substandard structure, and living in a garage is not an allowable use,” she said.

Deemed substandard by whom? Shouldn't that decision be up to the property owner? If I or anyone else wants to live in a garage with no utilities we should be free to do so. While the men sleeping there clearly made a stupid decision somewhere they were apparently adults, fully capable of making their own decisions on what level of risk is acceptable for them. Now they will have to live with the results of that decision. Which is how things should be. Adults don't need daddy government to protect them from their own stupidity. We will all be better off if folks are left to learn from their decisions, rather than being coddled from birth to death by big brother government run amok. The latter only encourages a people to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.

Another thing to consider is what alternative these men had. Likely it was live on the street or live in that garage. All things considered the garage was probably less better.
May 08, 2013
Ok, so I screwed up that last sentence and ended up sounding like George Bush. I was running out of characters. I had started to say it was probably statistically less risky living in the garage than on the street. Since I was short on space I tried to change it to simply "probably better" but failed to delete a word. Amazing how one stray word can screw something up.

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