Grease fire likely cause of Tahoe City blaze | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Grease fire likely cause of Tahoe City blaze

TAHOE CITY – The blaze that damaged Lakehouse Pizza and destroyed Mandarin Villa in Tahoe City Aug. 4 was caused by a grease fire in a pizza oven, a preliminary investigation by the North Tahoe Fire Protection District found. Employees used seven fire extinguishers, but could not control the fire. The flames traveled up the oven’s flue to the duct system into the Chinese restaurant’s attic, igniting the wooden roof, fire officials said. “Upstairs is 100 percent fire loss, it was gutted,” said Operations Division Chief Rod Collins, who was incident commander. Lakehouse suffered some water damage and minimal smoke and fire damage. “It was a tough battle in there,” Collins said. The cost of the damages has not been determined. Greg Greene, owner of Lakehouse Pizza and the Eggschange, housed in the same restaurant, said he plans to rebuild immediately. Greene also owns Steamers’ Bar & Grill in Kings Beach. The Lakehouse fire is the third fire to destroy a North Shore business in less than two months. Kings Beach’s North End Restaurant caught fire on July 27 because of overloaded electrical wiring, and the Cobblestone Center’s rear building was severely damaged due to a fire on June 12, also attributed to faulty electrical wiring, fire officials said. “I can’t recall this many commercial fires in a short amount of time in the last 10 years,” said NTFPD Chief Duane Whitelaw. Last week’s Tahoe City fire, reported around 7:20 p.m., was under control an hour later. Around 40 firefighters from Tahoe City, Incline Village, Northstar, Truckee and Squaw Valley responded. Both restaurants, which were full, had to be evacuated. Whitelaw estimates that around 175 people were in the building at the time of the fire. No one was injured in the blaze.

Weapon fired in restaurant

A man reportedly accidentally fired his weapon while he was at a Heavenly Village restaurant with his wife and two small children Saturday evening. "The male subject was very apologetic and went back to his seat where he sat for 10-to-15 minutes before paying their [sic] bill and leaving the restaurant," according to a South Lake Tahoe Police Department Police report based on witness statements. There were no injuries reported during the incident, Lt. Brian Williams said on Tuesday. The authorities were not called until after the man and his family left the restaurant. The incident took place at about 9:45 p.m. at the FiRE + iCE restaurant. Police have not been able to identify the man, but he was described as Hispanic, approximately 6-feet-4-inches tall, 280 pounds, with a bald head, tattoos on both shoulders and a muscular build. According to the police report, it is believed that the man accidently fired the gun while it was in his pocket. Police found two marks on the concrete floor where the man was reportedly standing, a bullet fragment and what appeared to be a nickel, which was struck by the bullet. They also found a piece of cloth believed to be from the man's shorts. A witness told police that the music in the restaurant was loud, but the shot was louder. He also said the man was noticeably stiffened following the shot, then regained his composure and continued to wait for his food. The witness was sure the man had shot himself in the leg and expected blood to start gushing out, but all he saw was a hole in his shorts. He added that he was surprised no one called the police, but that later several patrons complained to staff and the police were eventually called. According to the police, several witnesses were surprised that nobody called until several minutes after. Williams said it was unclear whether the man was carrying the weapon legally. He added that the investigation is ongoing.

Seedlings to be given away today

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District and the University of California Cooperative Extension will hold a native Jeffrey pine seedling giveaway from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden at Lake Tahoe Community College, One College Drive, South Lake Tahoe. Home-landscaping guides, “Living With Fire” guides, packets of wildflower seeds and free landscaping materials from Tahoe Sand and Gravel also are among the giveaways at the event. The U.S. Forest Service has donated 850 seedlings to give away to homeowners affected by the Angora fire. If your property was affected by the Angora fire, you also can sign up to receive up to $500 of native vegetation and receive $1 per square foot for planting water-efficient landscaping. For more information on the plant giveaway and vegetation plans, contact the Tahoe Resource Conservation District hotline at (530) 543-1501, ext. 113, or Susie Kocher at (530) 542-2571.

Arson suspected in Thursday fire

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. –┬áSouth Lake Tahoe police are investigating a possible arson at the Bijou Center early Thursday morning. The fire started about 3:30 a.m. after an unknown suspect poured a flammable liquid on a sidewalk in front of a business at the center, said Lt. David Stevenson. The center is located at 3471 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Stevenson could not determine the exact location of the incident by looking at initial reports, but said firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire. Liz Hallen, the owner of Hot Gossip, said the fire started in a community trash can near La Promesa Bakery and Mexican Food, on the center’s northwest side. The fire set off the center’s outside fire sprinklers, causing water to enter the Mexican restaurant, Hallen said. Hallen said the investigation of the fire prevented caused her to open Hot Gossip about 9:30 a.m., an hour and a half late. Surveillance footage from El Dorado Savings Bank appears to show two teenagers running from the area, Hallen said. La Promesa employees also reported having a confrontation with a transient man the night before the fire, Hallen said. She said employees at Tahoe Wellness Collective first reported the suspected arson attempt. “If those guys didn’t make the call, it could have been worse,” Hallen said. The fire remains under investigation. Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call Officer Aaron Crawford at 530-542-6100.

On the Hill: Backcountry touring on Carson Pass (Video)

On the Hill is brought to you by the Tahoe Center for Orthopedics Breakdown: On the Hill host and Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Sebastian Foltz gets in the backcountry on Carson Pass. BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE DANGER A CONCERN FOLLOWING STORM FULL STORY: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/20694429-113/winter-storm-brings-avalanche-concerns-to-tahoe-basin Weekend Weather: Sunny skies and warmer temperatures are expected through the weekend. Area resorts have reported receiving up to two feet from storms this week. More information is available at http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org.

Community Christmas Party for Angora fire survivors set for Dec. 9

The Community Care Center of Tahoe will hold a Community Christmas Party for the Angora fire survivors, a special day of celebration on Dec. 9 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the center. The party will also honor those who helped with the fire and the recovery efforts. There will be a Christmas Wish Tree, much like the Angel Tree, where the community can come in and chose a person(s) or family they would like to give Christmas presents, Christmas trees or food. To date, the center has helped more than 135 families and over 325 Angora fire survivors. Local music and restaurants have joined in donating their services and food. There will be a special visit from Santa, who will arrive on the Lake Valley Fire Department’s 1940’s fire truck. All surrounding fire agencies, the U.S. Forest Service, law enforcement departments, city/county officials, community organizations and the community at large are all invited to join in this community celebration. For more information or if you would like to help please call Pam Bettencourt at (530) 318-3349. The center is no longer accepting clothing except for winter clothing, hats, gloves and snow shovels. Still needed are non-perishable food items and furniture in good condition, as well as monetary donations for utilities and other expenses. However, no more donations will be accepted after Dec. 1. All charitable monetary donations are tax deductible and should be made out to the Moose Lodge #1632- side-marked – for The Community Care Center, and may either be brought to the “Mikasa Building” 2011 Lake Tahoe Blvd. , South Lake Tahoe or mailed to the Moose Lodge, 961 Eloise Ave., South Lake Tahoe, CA. 96150.

Community Christmas Party for fire survivors

The Community Care Center of Tahoe will hold a Community Christmas Party for the Angora fire survivors from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the center. The party also will honor those who helped during the fire and with recovery efforts. There will be a Christmas Wish Tree, much like the Angel Tree, where the community can come in and choose a person, persons or family to whom they would like to give Christmas trees, presents or food. To date, the center has helped more than 135 families and more than 325 Angora fire survivors. Local musicians and restaurants have joined in donating their services and food. There also will be a special visit from Santa, who will arrive on the Lake Valley Fire Department’s 1940s fire truck. All surrounding fire agencies, the U.S. Forest Service, law enforcement departments, city/county officials, community organizations and the community at large are all invited to join in this celebration. For more information or if you would like to help, call Pam Bettencourt at (530) 318-3349. The center no longer is accepting clothing except for winter clothing, hats, gloves and snow shovels. Still needed are nonperishable food items and furniture in good condition, as well as monetary donations for utilities and other expenses. All charitable monetary donations are tax-deductible and should be made out to Moose Lodge No. 1632, marked “for The Community Care Center,” and may be brought to the Mikasa building, 2011 Lake Tahoe Blvd., or mailed to the Moose Lodge, 961 Eloise Ave., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.

A block party of the conservation kind

Burning coals and burning houses are two parts of a barbecue designed to raise awareness of fire safety measures in the Lake Tahoe Basin this weekend. The “Conservation Block Party” will conclude with demonstration fires on parts of a model home. “We need to have people understand what will actually burn down your house,” said John Pickett. “That is what this demonstration will show. It’s going to be great.” Details of a home, such as screens over attic vents, are often the barriers that will prevent it from burning during a forest fire, according to Pickett. In addition to a guided walking tour highlighting the defensible space and best management practices utilized by nearby homes, information on a streamlined permitting process for California residents will also be available. “It’s easy; it’s painless; we’re not going to clear cut your property,” said Pickett. Three fire protection districts on the California side of the basin have been recently granted memoranda of understanding from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. These memorandums allow the districts to issue tree removal permits for defensible space projects, making the process more efficient and cost effective, according to Pickett. “We really encourage people to come out and find out how easy it is to get this work done now,” Pickett said. A free barbecue will take place between the walking tour and burn demonstration. Parking will be limited, and the event’s sponsors urge carpooling. Conservation Block Party When: Saturday, June 2 Guided Walking Tour: 10:30 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. Free barbecue lunch: 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. Live Burn Demo: 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Where: Boulder Mountain Drive, across from Lake Valley Fire Station No. 5 Registration is encouraged for the event. Call the Tahoe Resource Conservation District at (530) 543-1501 ext. 113 to RSVP.

Police release surveillance photos of Thursday arson

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. –┬áSouth Lake Tahoe police are hoping to identify two men seen fleeing from a suspected arson at the Bijou Center early Thursday morning. Surveillance images from El Dorado Savings Bank show the men running from the area about 3:45 a.m. After receiving a report of a fire near La Promesa Bakery and Restaurant, police and firefighters “discovered a trash can on the outside of the business complex engulfed in flames and saw the overhang of the building starting to catch fire,” said Detective Doug Sentell in a Friday statement. “A fire sprinkler system on the exterior of the building helped control the fire from spreading until the fire department was able to extinguish it completely.” Investigators have found evidence the fire was deliberately set, Sentell said. Police ask anyone who recognizes the people in the photos or has information on the incident to call Sentell at 530-542-6100 or Secret Witness at 530-541-6800.