Donation fund set up for Prescott Road fire victims

The family affected by a Prescott Road fire Friday has a donation fund set up to help recover losses.

Authorities responded to the structure fire at 40 Prescott Road near San Juan Bautista before 9 a.m. Friday.

“County fire is working a structure fire at 40 Prescott Rd. Please avoid the area,” the post stated.

The fire was located off Highway 156 between San Juan Bautista and Highway 101.

The incident had locals commenting on social media.

“There was also a fire that took an entire home,” Kimba Martinez said in a Facebook comment. “The family got out okay, but they lost everything. They have a donation fund set up to help them get back on their feet.”

The donation fund is here:

Friday brought windy weather to the region that took down multiple trees and power lines. As of Friday afternoon, there were 65 reported cases of downed trees, with 16 confirmed as blocking roadways.

“City crews are working throughout the city,” Deputy City Clerk Christine Black said Friday afternoon. “Please use caution and plan for delays.”

Hollister Fire Department Battalion Chief Phil Rossi said his department received calls about downed trees and power lines. He said he hasn’t seen anything like this in the local region before.

“For my tenure with the fire department, I have not dealt with this,” Rossi said by phone.

Rossi gave some advice to local residents regarding the weather.

“Be safe and keep an eye on all the stuff that potentially could be falling or could be a hazard,” he said. “Be careful out there, especially with the weather going on.”

Rossi advised locals to sign up with CodeRED, an emergency notification service that allows emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by cell phone and text messaging. The service was used to alert Lovers Lane residents during recent flooding.

CodRED can be downloaded on IOS and Android mobile devices. Locals can also sign up at

County Sheriff Administration Captain Tony Lamonica said things were business as usual.

“Obviously with those power lines down, we’re responding to that and letting public works know,” he said. “We worked together with (the police department) earlier and we are getting an assessment of everything going on in the city and county.”

Hollister Police Chief David Westrick opened an Emergency Operations Center at city hall Friday morning. The center acted as a command hub for city officials from administration, public works, police and fire.

“I wanted to have the (Emergency Operations Center) open so we could look and make sure we could prioritize any kind of dangerous situation,” Westrick said.

County Emergency Services Manager Kevin O’Neill participated in the Emergency Operations Center.

“We as a county were there to support the city,” O’Neill said. “The city had the most impacts from this.”

O’Neill praised the city’s response to Friday’s windy weather.

“The city did a great job,” he said. “They have a lot of resources and were able to mobilize quickly.”

The police department’s role during the storm is dangerous situation mitigation, Westrick said.

“We had some damage early on, structural damage that caused what appears to be four gas leaks,” Westrick said. “They’re all taken care of.”

One gas leak caused San Benito High School to cancel classes for the day. R.O. Hardin Elementary School and the Early Childhood Special Education School nearby were closed Friday as well. Representatives from the county reported that Tres Pinos Elementary School, Anzar High School, Aromas School, Jefferson Elementary School and Pinnacles Community School were closed.

Westrick said he plans to add a new feature for locals to use on the MyPD mobile application, which allows citizens to connect with local law enforcement agencies.

“In the next week or so I’m going to put an option for them to report things like potholes,” he said. “To report things like any kind of hazardous situation that we in the city can help fix or do something about… I think there’s a nexus to potholes and roadway safety. With technology, we’re trying to do more things, and this is one of those things that might help.”

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