House damaged by fire in Glenshire
July 8, 2003
A Glenshire couple watched most of their house go up in flames early Monday morning as they and their neighbors waited for firefighters to arrive.
“It wasn’t that bad at first. It was only on the deck,” said Dennis Sigafoose, who lives across the street from the 16158 Lance Road home.
Upon noticing the blaze on the deck of their single-story house, Julie and Tom Fitzgerald called 911 at 12:38 a.m., according to Truckee Fire District officials.
Sigafoose’s daughter noticed the deck fire from her bedroom window and Sigafoose also dialed 911.
A few bystanders tried to put the fire out with hoses to no avail; soon the blaze took to the house’s wooden shingles and drew toward the front windows, setting a couch on fire inside the home, eyewitnesses said.
According to fire district reports, firefighters arrived at the home 13 minutes after the first 911 call.
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Truckee Fire Chief Mike Terwilliger, who lives down the street from the Lance Road home, drove to the Glenshire station, picked up an engine and “knocked down the fire” before other fire crews responded, he said.
Fire district officials estimated the blaze caused up to $150,000 in damage.
“It’s a save,” Terwilliger said. “They’ll be back in that house in three weeks if they get a contractor.”
A source close to the Fitzgeralds, said the couple has considered the house a complete loss due to all of the smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Sigafoose and other eyewitnesses said they believed the severity of the damage could have been prevented.
“If there was someone at [the Glenshire] fire station, [the fire] would have been out in five minutes,” Sigafoose said. “I’m not blaming the fire department. I know they did what they could.”
The Glenshire fire station, just up the road from the Fitzgeralds’ now-charred home, was supposed be staffed full-time for the first time just one week earlier, on July 1. Because of pending state budget cuts, however, district officials decided to keep the Glenshire station unmanned, said Gene Welch, Truckee Fire District’s public safety and information officer.
“We didn’t want to hire people and then have to lay them off,” Welch said.
The Truckee Fire District currently has two full-time stations: station 92 on Donner Pass Road and station 96 at Truckee Tahoe Airport. Other stations, like Glenshire, Tahoe Donner and Donner Lake, are used to house volunteer firefighters and equipment, Welch said.