An extension cord being used to power a swamp cooler is blamed for a fire in Joshua Tree Sunday afternoon that completely destroyed a home, two travel trailers, a shed, and a vehicle. About 4 p.m., fire fighters from Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Yucca Mesa, the Combat Center, and Morongo Valley found the 720-square-foot residential structure fire in the 66100 block of Coyote Valley Road in Joshua Tree—past the Joshua Tree Lake campground—completely involved in flames when they arrived.
County Fire Captain Jon Garber said an extension cord that was plugged into a 120-volt outlet in the house was being used to run a swamp cooler in one of the travel trailers. The cord and outlet were not suitable to power the swamp cooler, and the cord, which was lying on top of clothing on a wood floor, got too hot and started the clothes on fire, which started the floor on fire, which started the home on fire. The fire spread to two RV trailers, and an older-model 4-door sedan parked near by, as well as a shed/garage. Garber said fire fighters were hampered in fighting the fire due to the distance of a hydrant, about one-quarter of a mile away from the residence, and very poor water flow from the hydrant. Garber said there was a significant amount of heat and flames coming off from the fire and that structure fires require a high volume of water to extinguish them. The three female residents arrived home during the fire, and Red Cross was called in to assist.