http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/02/06/fire-leaves-fireplace-in-alamo


Danville Express

Community Pulse - February 6, 2009

Fire leaves fireplace in Alamo

Wood burning in a fireplace in the 1500 block of Ramona Way in Alamo climbed into its wall enclosure, onto the roof line and into the crawl space beneath the home early last Friday morning, according to reports from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.

The fire was called in at 1:05 a.m. Jan. 30 in the single-story, 3,400-square-foot residence.

"I wasn't on duty but my impression is the 21-year-old son was up and found smoke coming from the walls," said Battalion Chief Mike Brown later that morning. "Evidently it was an issue for awhile."

The fire department responded with three engines, two ladder trucks and one paramedic.

"There were flames within the interior of the walls but never flames inside the living space," said Brown.

When firefighters arrived, they had to tackle the walls to find the fire. They had the fire under control within 45 minutes. The incident resulted in an estimated $75,000 in damages - $60,000 to the structure and $15,000 to the contents of the home.

"Thankfully everybody got out of the house," Brown added.

He said this incident emphasizes the importance of having fireplaces checked periodically.

"I would at least yearly have your fireplace cleaned and checked by a certified chimney sweep," he said. "They not only clean but check to make sure they're in proper shape so these things don't happen."

He said wood-burning fireplaces are a greater danger, due to the soot released, but gas fireplaces should also be checked.

--Dolores Fox Ciardelli

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