Bear cub looking for food starts fire inside Lake Tahoe home |

Bear cub looking for food starts fire inside Lake Tahoe home

TAHOMA, Calif. — A Lake Tahoe bear cub escaped unharmed after igniting a fire in a vacant West Shore house Thursday evening in attempt to reach food, an official said.

Entering through a partially open window, the cub climbed onto the stove, inadvertently turning on a burner and igniting material around it, said Ed Miller, president of the Meeks Bay Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

Crews from MBFPD and North Tahoe Fire Protection District responded to the incident at a Tahoe Cedars home located on Fifth Avenue, extinguishing the fire in about five minutes, he said Friday morning.

No one was in the house at the time, and only minimal damage was sustained from the fire, limited to the stovetop, Miller said.

As for the bear cub, El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff Josh Bisantz fired non-lethal shots to scare the bruin and its sow — who was also in the vicinity — away from the vacation house.

“This event could have had a far more devastating outcome,” said Miller, adding that it should serve as a cautionary tale about how to live with bears at Lake Tahoe.

Visitors and residents both full and part time are advised to keep their homes secure by not leaving windows open, not leaving food or trash inside one’s home or garage, and to turn off gas valves to stoves when away for extended periods of time.