Fire destroys vacation home |

Fire destroys vacation home

Fire destroyed a vacation home in the Gardner Mountain area of South Lake Tahoe on Saturday. Although South Lake Tahoe Fire Department investigators are not yet saying what caused the blaze, owners of the home say it may have been arson.

“The battalion chief is still in the process of completing the report,” said SLTFD engineer Russ Dow, who said that three engines and 11 fire department personnel were dispatched to the blaze at 12:40 p.m. Damages were estimated at $40,000, and the house appears to be a total loss.

No one was hurt in the blaze.

“Apparently, some kids got in here and really did a number on the place,” said owner Helen Person of Redwood City, who drove to South Lake Tahoe on Sunday morning to survey the damage to the four-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot, two-story residence.

“My husband and I purchased the home in 1992 as a fixer-upper,” she said. “We remodeled it little by little, and it was almost done. It’s a real shame, but these things happen.”

A neighbor girl who was babysitting at the house next door became curious when the family dog began barking. She looked out the window, saw smoke, and called 911.

“It looks like the fire started in the bedroom,” Person said. “There isn’t as much damage toward the front of the house. And the (separate) garage wasn’t touched.

“But you can see that someone was probably in here. We had some beer in the refrigerator, and we found the empty, burned beer cases in the front room.

“But we won’t know for sure until the fire department completes the report.”

Battalion Chief Mike Chandler, who responded to the blaze on Saturday, was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

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