Thursday Feb 21 2008
Newcastle woman dies after barn fire
By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
A woman who sustained third-degree burns following a barn blaze in Newcastle Tuesday has died, Sacramento County Coroner officials confirmed Wednesday. Carolyn Grace Gallamore, 55, died as a result of thermal burns she sustained to 50 percent of her body after a suspected trailer explosion set a barn on fire in rural Placer County, sending flames more than 60 feet into the air. Fire crews responded to the report of a barn fire just north of Chili Hill Road on Gold Hill Road in Ophir at about 5:30 p.m. Gallamore was in a 40-foot trailer, housed inside a 40-by-100-foot barn when, for unknown reasons, there was an explosion that quickly engulfed the hay-filled barn, said Greg Guyan, Auburn-area Cal Fire battalion chief. The blast, and possibly the subsequent blaze, split the trailer in half. A car parked next to the engulfed barn was quickly charred. Bryan Kaminsky was one of several neighbors who quickly came to Gallamore's aid. It was a very traumatic experience, Kaminsky said Tuesday before word of the woman's death was released. We were helpless. We were just in tears. Kaminsky, who said he did not know Gallamore, was sitting in his nearby home with his family when they heard a loud boom. We were looking to see what had fallen when my daughter ran outside and started yelling, ˜fire, fire,' Kaminsky said. We saw this unbelievable black plume of smoke and when we heard screaming, I knew I had to help. Kaminsky, a former volunteer firefighter with the Penryn Fire Department, arrived at the scene to see other neighbors putting a blanket on top of the engulfed woman. She was breathing and moaning, he said. We didn't know if something else was going to explode so we decided to move her. We put her in a truck and drove her to the top (of the hill) where we waited for emergency personnel. Kaminsky said he tried to keep the road clear of traffic until fire crews arrived. It was really a neighborhood effort, he said. But this really made me realize how fragile life is. At any moment that could have happened ” it could have been me, anyone. Fire crews did not douse the flames with water, but instead let the flaming bales of hay burn out. There is a (Nevada Irrigation District) canal directly adjacent to the barn, said Battalion Chief Jeff Brand, with Cal Fire. Any run off from the fire would go directly into the ditch. Firefighters remained on scene throughout the night and Wednesday monitoring the contained fire. We have investigators on site and we are still working on our investigation, Guyan said Wednesday. We are continuing to clean up and expect the area will continue to burn for another day. The Journal's Penne Usher contributed to this report. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.