A northwest Fresno home was gutted by flames Tuesday afternoon in a three-alarm fire that sent up a plume of smoke visible across a wide area of north Fresno.
Fresno fire Chief Kerri Donis said the home at 2555 W. Bluff Ave., near Alluvial Avenue and Van Ness Boulevard, is a complete loss and firefighters worked through the night to contain hot spots.
Around 5:30 p.m., flames were still visible and dark smoke continued billowing out of the collapsed home even after thousands of gallons of water had been sprayed on it.
Donis estimated around $550,000 in damage to the home. That didn’t include property inside, she said. The cause is undetermined, department spokesman Hector Vasquez said, but there is no indication of foul play or suspicious activity.
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The report of fire came about 3:45 p.m. A fire truck in the area was diverted from another call and arrived at the home in about two minutes.
Donis said two people were inside the home when they noticed electrical issues. The first firefighters on scene went inside the home, but signs of a collapsing roof forced them back out.
Donis said it appears the fire had been churning in the attic for some time before firefighters arrived.
The owner stood and watched as firefighters continued to pour water on his home. He didn’t want to speak about the loss.
The fire did not spread to the neighboring home, Donis said. The owner of that home, Dan Book, 73, said he had just left his house to pick someone up at Palm and Bullard avenues at 3:30 p.m.
Fifteen minutes later, his next-door neighbor called thinking it was his home that was burning.
“She said ‘I think your house is on fire,’ so boom, we came right back here and that is what happened here,” Book said.
Book said he was told his home only suffered smoke and water damage. He said the next step from here will be working with his insurance company to fix the damage.
In the meantime, Book said he and his wife are OK, but expected to spend Tuesday night, and maybe the next couple of nights, elsewhere.
With Christmas coming up, Book felt bad about his neighbor’s loss. “It’s a real shame.”
Donis noted that the Bluff Avenue fire was the fourth the department had responded to by Tuesday evening, and she said fire calls are on the rise as temperatures drop. She urged the public to take precautions when using a fireplace or Christmas lights.