A man has shared video on Facebook that shows the smoldering garbage truck that’s alleged to have caused the devastating Sandalwood fire in California.
Shawn M. Melvin shared the video on his Facebook page. You can watch the video later in this article. “Hunter and I were behind the trash truck that caused the fire today in Calimesa,” Melvin wrote with the post.
“I was on my way to go pick up Cassidy from school and there was already flames coming out of the top of it at some point. I told Hunter to start recording what was going on. At the very end you can see me pulling up to him and begging him To pull the truck somewhere else so he would not catch the field on fire.”
The garbage truck driver’s name has not been released. According to ABC7, Cal Fire Riverside Capt. Fernando Herrera said the cause of the fire was the burning trash pile from the truck spreading and igniting nearby vegetation. Whether any criminal charges could result is not yet clear as that remains under investigation.
CalFire reports that the Sandalwood fire, as of October 13, 2019, had burned 1,011 Acres and was 77 percent contained. It was still listed as an active fire. The blaze is located in Riverside County, California. It ignited on October 10, 2019 at 3:38 p.m., according to CalFire. CalFire reports that 74 structures were destroyed in the fire and 16 were damaged. The fire’s location was given as Calimesa Boulevard and Sandalwood Drive. Two people have died in the fire, including Lois Arvikson, an 89-year-old resident of Calimesa.
Here’s what you need to know:
Melvin Wrote That He Warned the Garbage Truck Driver ‘Over & Over’ That He Was Going to Start a Fire
Melvin wrote in the Facebook post that he tried to warn the driver. “I told him over and over he was going to catch the field on fire,” he wrote. “So many things have been running through my mind after I have watch this video where I wish that I would’ve just told him to get out and I could have backed into the fire hydrant that you could clearly see in the video.”
He concluded: “Could’ve would’ve should’ve. I feel so bad for the people that have lost their homes tonight my prayers are with them. One more thing Mesa view elementary school could’ve been a death trap today they really need to re-think another way out.”
He shared more details on the comment thread, writing, “I told him to move the truck several times but my main Concern was getting cassidy out of that death trap of the school.” He added: “This whole thing has been exhausting from news reporter showing up at my door the interviews to CAL fire and Riverside County Sheriff. Now it’s time just to pray for the people that lost so much. And pray for the people that are trying to figure it all out.”
Melvin elaborated to ABC7, saying that the drive “honestly said ‘I don’t know what to do, what do you do?’ and then him following protocol where he works of dumping the trash out when it’s on fire. What they were trying to do is save a $150,000 rig and (it) ended up that protocol bit him in the butt, because you don’t do that on a windy day.”