California teenagers cause massive fire, power outage with flaming tennis ball

Contra Costa Fire Protection District firefighters responded Wednesday to a two-alarm in a Martinez neighborhood. At least one house and several vehicles were heavily damaged, and electrical service to the area was briefly disrupted. 

Con Fire praised the “swift and overwhelming response” that protected most of the area from more serious damage. 

Con Fire investigators determined Cambark fire originated in backyard on Arthur Rd. Cause 3 youth playing with fire, that got out of hand in current conditions. 

Con Fire investigators determined Cambark fire originated in backyard on Arthur Rd. Cause 3 youth playing with fire, that got out of hand in current conditions.  (Con Fire PIO Twitter )

No one was injured, Con Fire said in a statement on Twitter

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Investigators said that the fire began in the home’s backyard when teens playing in the yard next door started hitting a flaming tennis ball around in a game of stickball.

Con Fire investigators determined Cambark fire originated in backyard on Arthur Rd. Cause 3 youth playing with fire, that got out of hand in current conditions. 

Con Fire investigators determined Cambark fire originated in backyard on Arthur Rd. Cause 3 youth playing with fire, that got out of hand in current conditions.  (Con Fire PIO Twitter)

“The three teens had a fire in a pit they had dug in the backyard and ignited a tennis ball and played stick ball with it,” a Con Fire statement read. “One of them hit the burning tennis ball into some dry vegetation resulting in the grassfire.”  

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The house was next to a “storage yard,” which contained a number of vehicles. The vehicles, as well as some propane tanks, accelerated the fire, threatening a dozen homes in the surrounding area. 

Con Fire investigators determined Cambark fire originated in backyard on Arthur Rd. Cause 3 youth playing with fire, that got out of hand in current conditions. 

Con Fire investigators determined Cambark fire originated in backyard on Arthur Rd. Cause 3 youth playing with fire, that got out of hand in current conditions.  (Con Fire PIO Twitter)

Some videos showed an immense fireball rise from the main fire during the peak of the blaze. 

The power outage lasted around half an hour, a Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman told the East Bay Times.

Authorities released the teens to their parents, citing the “accidental nature” of the fire and the fact the teens had no prior criminal history. The Youth Fire Setter Program has taken over the case. 

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