3 homes charred in less than a week | SierraSun.com

3 homes charred in less than a week

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunA home in Sierra Meadows was destroyed by fire last week. A gas explosion was the apparent cause of the accident.
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Investigators have yet to determine the cause of an explosion and fire last week that destroyed a home in the Truckee subdivision of Ponderosa Ranchos Estates.

The residence, worth nearly $1 million, was unoccupied when the fire erupted early Tuesday and firefighters lost a battle to save the structure, said Public Safety Officer Gene Welch of the Truckee Fire Protection District.

“The building will have to be demolished,” said Welch in a phone interview. “No adjacent structures were damaged, though ” only the landscape surrounding the residence.”

Truckee Fire District personnel responded to reports of a structure fire at 11175 Thelin Drive in Ponderosa Ranchos Estates at approximately 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. The first unit arrived around 10 minutes later to find the two-story-frame residence completely engulfed in flames, officials said in a department news release.

Neighbors reported the fire when they heard an explosion and then witnessed the residence go up in flames, Welch said in the release.

Three fire engines, a ladder truck and an ambulance from Truckee Fire responded. Four additional engines were requested from Squaw Valley Fire Department, Northstar Fire Department, North Tahoe Fire Department and North Lake Tahoe Fire Department, Truckee Fire officials said.

Responding firefighters controlled the fire in less than two hours, but needed another seven hours to fully extinguish the blaze because of the structure’s instability, Welch said.

Because of the risk the damaged house poses, fire investigators have not completed their inquiry into the cause of the fire.

“We can’t go in to determine the cause because the structure is too unsafe to enter,” said Welch. “Most likely, an insurance agency may complete the investigation.”

Representatives from the homeowners association at Ponderosa Ranchos Estates will meet with fire district officials Wednesday to receive more information and try to determine a cause, said association President Bruce Hartzell.

The association will also meet with homeowners this Saturday to discuss fire prevention and safety, he said.

“It was a fortunate time of year and time of day, so the weather did not lead to the spread of a fire like in the Angora Fire,” said Hartzell, adding that the residence belonged to a second-home owner.

The Bay Area owner was away when at the time, neighbors said.