Fire destroys house; authorities say arson |

Fire destroys house; authorities say arson

A fire ripped through a South Lake Tahoe home on Sunday, destroying the structure’s interior and blowing out its windows.

The fire broke out at 1048 Washoan Blvd. at about 3:40 p.m. No one was in the house when firefighters arrived on scene. Investigators believe the blaze was started intentionally.

“There were four separate starts in the house – two in the back bedrooms, one in the kitchen and one in the garage,” Lake Valley Fire Capt. Steve La Clare said. “They appeared to have been started with piles of charcoal.”

La Clare said it was too early to tell how much damage the structure had incurred.

Neighbor Greg Baxter said the house, a single-story home with an attached garage, is owned by a longtime resident of South Lake Tahoe. The name of the owner had not been released.

“He’s been there about 10 years,” Baxter said. “He’s a single guy and I think he’s got a couple of roommates living there with him. There was a girl staying there yesterday, but I haven’t seen anyone at the house today. I’m just glad nobody was in there.”

Baxter said he was inside his house, two houses away from the burning structure, when he smelled smoke. He said he went outside to investigate and saw smoke billowing from the windows, which had been busted out from the heat of the fire. As he ran back to his house to call for help, Lake Valley fire engines drove up the street.

Twelve firefighters from three Lake Valley engine companies, using a fire retardant foam and water from a fire hydrant located in the front yard of the property, put the blaze to rest in less than five minutes.

Also standing by were two U.S. Forest Service fire crews just in case the fire spread to the grass, bushes and trees around the structure.

U.S.F.S. Fire Modual Leader Amy Ellison said the danger of the fire spreading to the ground was real.

“If it had been any windier, the potential for it spreading could have been there,” she said. “The neighbors were lucky that the wind was working in their favor.”

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Lew Long said Sheriff’s detectives and investigators from Lake Valley Fire will continue their investigation into the cause of the fire.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User