Property owners allege damages from wildland fire allegedly caused by Fresno County truck

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Aug 14, 2018

FRESNO – Property owners are seeking damages from Fresno County over a 2017 wildland fire that spread to their property.

Kevin D. Kester and June E. Kester, individually, and Kevin D. Kester, trustee of the Arthur D. Claassen Revocable Trust filed a complaint on July 23 in the Fresno County Superior Court against county of Fresno and Does 1 through 50 alleging inverse condemnation, negligence, nuisance and trespass.

According to the complaint, on July 17, 2017, a wildland fire started in Coalinga that lasted for 13 days and destroyed more than 600 acres of land. The suit states an investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Fresno-Kings Unit determined that the cause of fire was the 2014 International Asphalt hot patch truck owned and operated by defendants that was used to compact and scrape loose asphalt on Parkfield Road. 

The plaintiffs allege the fire spread to their property and they presented a claim of damages to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors seeking reimbursement in December 2017 and the claim was rejected in March.

The plaintiffs hold the county of Fresno responsible because the defendant allegedly improperly compacted the asphalt on Parkfield Road by allowing the metal bucket to scrape the asphalt, causing it to spark and ignite the fire that spread upon plaintiffs' property.

The plaintiffs seek judgment for damages in an amount to be ascertained according to proof with interest thereon at the legal rate from the date of damages, attorneys' fees, costs of suit and for such other and further relief as the court may deem proper. They are represented by Michael Masuda of Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss in Salinas.

Fresno County Superior Court case number 18CECG02719

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Fresno County Superior Court Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss

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