Newcastle woman dies after barn fire

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
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 or comment on this story at