Bird on Wire Blamed for Fire

Pigeon takes the heat

By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, Sep 4, 2009  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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San Jose Homes Barely Escape Brush Fire

Albert Yanez

The flames narrowly missed the homes near the top of the hill.

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A 30-acre brush fire that came uncomfortably close to homes and apartments in San Jose Wednesday is being pinned on a pigeon that sat a little too close to another, PG&E officials said.

The fire, which was reported at about 2:15 p.m. on Communication Hill, just off Highway 87 near Curtner Avenue, was contained shortly after 4 p.m. The flames narrowly missed the homes near the top of the hill.

Crews found a downed power line and a charred pigeon with its wings blown off near the area where the fire is believed to have originated, PG&E spokeswoman Jennifer Zerwer said.

Zerwer said it looked like the bird was resting on a wooden support cross arm when it brushed up against another winged friend, creating a short circuit.

"It was zapped by the wire," Zerwer told the Mercury News.

An out building was burned and two firefighters were hurt fighting the blaze.

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