NEWELL - All that is left in the last light of dusk on Monday afternoon, September 11, is a charred bunch of timber sticking up into the twilight at the former home of Ed and Lynette Culver of Newell.
The call went out in late afternoon to a structure fire on the northwest side of town and fire units from Newell, Vale and Nisland responded. Five units from Newell, and two each from Vale and Nisland fought the blaze which raised in intensity until Fire Chief Verl Tifft said they had to pull back a bit due to the extreme heat.
"The cause of the blaze is undetermined at this time pending further investigation," said Tifft. Also at the scene were two Butte County deputies and the Red Cross was called in to assist in immediate needs.
Culver barely got out of the house after waking to flames and smoke. He grabbed his dog and headed out the door, shoeless.
"It's pretty bad when your insurance agent calls you to tell you that your house is on fire," said Lynette Culver who was at work. "I have to give credit to the firefighters, though." Culver said once the blaze was tamped down the firefighters searched through the rubble and found Culver's purse so she had her driver's license and other important documents. She sat on the side of the road in her vehicle with her granddaughter and the family dog watching as the units worked throughout the late afternoon to extinguish the blaze.
"Red Cross has already been here," said Lynette. "They gave us a debit card to help with our immediate needs." The Culvers know that this is a giving community and efforts are already being made towards fundraisers to help the family.
Tifft said it will be some time before the cause of the blaze can be determined but it took the entire home as well as some outbuildings, two vehicles and the corner of a greenhouse that was not in use. A storage shed remained standing as the units wrapped things up and left the scene.