Watsonville firefighters douse flames that broke out in a garage at 30 Riverside Drive Tuesday just before 5pm. —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE – A fire broke out in a wood garage behind a home at 30 Riverside Drive Tuesday.

Watsonville Fire Battalion Chief Kirt Vojvoda said no one was in the building when it caught fire and no injuries were reported. He said that once he spotted the huge column of black smoke from Fire Station 1 on Second Street, he amped up the response to a full structure fire, which drew firefighters from North Monterey County, Cal Fire and Central Fire to join Watsonville Fire in battling the blaze.

“It was fully involved with flames as we pulled in,” he said.

The fire ended up burning the structure to the ground.

The home has had numerous incidents involving police and firefighters and largely serves as a sprawling homeless encampment. Several years ago another fire swept through the second floor of the main house. Several Watsonville Police at the scene confirmed that they have responded to the house numerous times in the past.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


  1. the unhoused often start fires in unoccupied buildings. the new structure to be built needs to have good security and fire detectors.

  2. Another bizarre comment from S.T..?!

    Really homeless people ‘often start fires in unoccupied buildings’? Where did he come up with that one? Often…? Oh and then he becomes Mr. Obvious and is evidently a building amateur expert. Does anyone give a rat’s arse what he has to say about anything? He is against bad things and for good things. That’s about it, except that he has also experienced earthquakes! So there is that.

    steve trujillo wrote • 8 hours ago
    the unhoused often start fires in unoccupied buildings. the new structure to be built needs to have good security and fire detectors.*************

    And again, he fails to capitalize the first word in the sentence, which is deliberate. I believe he wants to emulate another gay writer from the late 1800’s,

    This is an excerpt from one of his prior emails ” I use punctuation. i use capital letters when I see fit. and it has little to do with the statements I make. good writing is more than just following “rules”.***********

    Note that he does not ‘see fit’ to capitalize the first word in his sentences because he does not want to follow the rules…? OMG, what an idiot.


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