Marshall House Fire
We’re grateful for the kindness of our community
Just after 6:30pm on Thursday, August 6, smoke alarms alerted resident Land Trust staff to a fire in the Marshall House on the northwest corner of FRLT’s Sierra Valley Preserve. Eastern Regional Manager Jeff Bue and Feather River College intern Keenan Pennington activated 911 and used fire extinguishers and a garden hose in attempt to suppress the flames until the Beckwourth Fire District arrived and took command, with mutual aid from Eastern Plumas and Sierra Valley Fire Districts.
The fire started on the exterior of the building and came through the kitchen window. The fire remained primarily in the roof of the modular home, smoldering and cropping up across the roof throughout Thursday night and well into Friday. Beckwourth Fire personnel remained on the fire, managing it until it was fully extinguished by about 12:30pm on Friday.
We’re grateful first and foremost that everyone is safe and healthy. Firefighters did a stellar job containing the fire so that it didn’t spread to any other part of the house or the preserve beyond, and were able to rescue some important equipment from the structure. The roof of the building has collapsed, and much of the contents were destroyed. The investigation has been completed by CalFire and the insurance investigators, and no specific cause was identified.
The Feather River Land Trust acquired the 50-acre Marshall property in 2019 as an addition to the 2,586-acre Sierra Valley Preserve. The existing modular house served as an eastern region office for staff and provided on-site housing for resident manager Jeff Bue and seasonal stewardship staff. As part of a longer-term plan for visitor facilities at the Sierra Valley Preserve, plans for the Marshall House had included retrofits to create a private apartment for the manager and a separate “bunkhouse” for seasonal staff and visitors. Staff are working with the insurance company to determine if the building is a total loss.
While we await insurance outcomes and explore housing options, we welcome assistance or leads for a 4-season fifth wheel RV to be used as temporary housing for our resident manager. Please contact Gabe Miller at (530) 283-5758 or Jeff Bue at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
We send out a big thank you to Fire Chief Bret Russell and Battalion Chief Dustin Langston and all of the volunteers with the Beckwourth Fire District, as well as Eastern Plumas and Sierra Valley Fire Districts that came to our aid and fought the fire throughout the night and into Friday afternoon. In addition to staying up all night and having to call in absent to work on Friday to keep fighting the blaze, these kind folks provided much-appreciated moral support and cheer to our staff.
We are also grateful to the two passersby who saw the smoke and stopped to help Jeff and Keenan before the fire department arrived. They were critical in helping to shut off power and propane and preventing further damage.
Neighbor Martin Schafer brought by pizza and sodas to keep the fire crews going, and on Friday, Katie Tanner, who is secretary for the Eastern Plumas Health Care Auxiliary brought by a plate of cookies and gift certificates for EPHCA’s Nifty Thrifty store for Jeff and Keenan to replace damaged or lost items.
We’re humbled once again, and grateful, for the way that community members jump in to help in times of need in the Feather River Country. We count ourselves incredibly lucky to live and work in a place where people care for the land and one another with such dedication. Thank you.