Unattended candle starts Alamo housefire | September 25, 2009 | Danville Express | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville Express

Newsfront - September 25, 2009

Unattended candle starts Alamo housefire

Damage estimated at $500,000

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

An unattended candle in a three-story house on Vine Lane in Alamo is being blamed for a blaze Sunday morning that caused extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

"It was a pretty stubborn fire," said Battalion Chief Jack Barton, "in a three-story house with multiple stairways and a basement."

Firefighters answered the call at 9:38 a.m., said Barton. Crews from Station 32 arrived to find smoke and flames showing from the eves and the rear of the home. Firefighters immediately began an aggressive offensive interior attack and were able to contain the fire to three rooms on the second floor in a little under an hour.

No one was home when the fire began, Barton said, caused by a candle that was left burning unattended on the second floor. The 9-1-1 call was made by neighbors when smoke was seen coming from the upper floors.

Firefighters opened the front door and smoke poured out, said Barton. After they determined there was no fire on the ground floor or in the basement, they proceeded to the second floor where they found flames.

"There was fire on the second floor, and lots of heat and smoke on the third floor," he said.

Two bedrooms, one bathroom and a closet were gutted on the second floor, reported Barton. There was smoke damage to the second and third floor, and all three floors sustained water damage.

Stations 31, 32 and 34 of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District responded with a total of five engines, two trucks, one paramedic ambulance, four chief officers and one breathing support unit.

One engine from Contra Costa County Fire helped to extinguish the fire. The fire was contained by 10:28 a.m.

"This structure was large and complex, the fire had significant potential. Firefighters did an excellent job containing this fire quickly," said Barton. "We also appreciate the assistance from Contra Costa County Fire and Alameda County Fire for covering our stations during this incident."

The structure sustained about $400,000 in damage and $100,000 in content loss.