The fire chief has released a timeline of the response to in response to criticism about the speed of the response.
In a second news release about the fire in the hills, Moraga-Orinda Fire District Chief Randy Bradley stated that he understands the dynamic when residents await emergency resources. “When a home is burning and other homes are threatened, time has a tendency to 'stand still' and seconds become minutes," said Bradley. "I am sure it felt like it took our engines an eternity to arrive, but we actually arrived within six minutes and six seconds of the completed dispatch.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries were reported.
In a piece written for the Mirador, the school newspaper at Miramonte High, Liz Berndt gave a first-person perspective of the terror of the fire as a neighbor whose house was threatened by the potential for the fire spread. The fire didn't spread: "The fire was quickly contained to the building of origin but required several hours to completely extinguish due to the home's construction features," stated the MOFD news release.
Around dawn Sunday morning, Berndt writes, she scrambled to put her contacts in, put shoes on and flee the house, and then "6:41 a.m. 'Hello? Hello? Thank God. Where are the fire trucks? I called over ten minutes ago!"
Later in the piece, she writes, "Approximately 7:12 a.m. hoses finally come on. I don't understand it. I don't understand what took so long. I don't understand why the firemen seemed so nonchalant. And I don't understand why the house burned for almost 40 minutes between the first call and the first sign of water."
Bradley gave this timeline:
- 6:40:24 End of Dispatch
- 6:41:55 Engine 43 (Charles Hill Station) Responding
- 6:46:30 Engine 43 and Engine 45 (Orinda Way Station) arrived at the scene
- (Engine 45 was returning from another emergency when the call was dispatched).
Bradley also made available on the MOFD website a recording of the radio transmissions that morning, including some discussion of truck access difficulties in the narrow streets at the site.
At the time of the fire — the end of a long holiday weekend — family friends were staying at the house while the homeowners, the Otsmaa family, were away.