Barbecue torches deck |

Barbecue torches deck

Bradley Foster

Neighbors said a fire on the corner of Oakland and Modesto nearly turned night to day early Sunday, as flames destroyed a balcony and gutted the attic of a duplex on the 3000 block of Oakland Avenue.

The fire was started by a smoldering barbecue left on a deck at the side of the house, according to the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department’s Brad Piazzo. The barbecue’s legs had been removed and it was leaning against the balcony’s wooden railing.

“It was only a matter of time before the rail caught fire from the heat conducted by the metal,” Piazzo said.

The fire tore through the second floor and the attic and caused $70,000 damage.

Firefighters arrived at the blaze at 1:39 a.m., waking many of the neighbors on the quiet street.

“I got up and was like, ‘What are all those lights?'” Cheryl Newton said.

“It was almost like daylight,” said her 17-year-old son, Josh, whose friends where the first to discover the blaze. “They almost kicked the door in trying to get the people’s attention.”

That was just minutes before firefighters arrived to battle flames that Josh Newton said, “Were just pouring from the house and off the roof. It was weird and there were sparks everywhere.”

Firefighters stayed on the scene until just after 4 a.m. but had the blaze contained 40 minutes after they arrived.

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