Blaze blackens home |

Blaze blackens home

A house was left black, blistered and smoking by a fire that erupted in its basement on Tribulation Trail in Nevada City Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters dressed in heavy, yellow protective clothing and oxygen masks combed the smoldering house on the 200 block of Tribulation Trail searching for clues that would tell them what sparked the blaze.

Investigators believe the fire started in a storage space in the bottom level of the three-story house that quickly spread to the second story, said Fire Chief Sam Goodspeed of the Nevada City Fire Department.

After firefighters thoroughly searched the building, they found nobody was in the structure at the time of the fire.

One woman, possibly a neighbor, was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation after trying to fight the fire, Goodspeed said.

“She was battling it with a garden hose,” Goodspeed said.

Located on the narrow trail along Deer Creek in an area thick with houses and vegetation, the fire spread to a tree overhanging the trail but did not jump into neighbors’ yards.

“We’re very fortunate. We got a great response and got water on it really quick,” Goodspeed said.

Another woman, Britteny Staab, of Auburn, tried to keep the fire from spreading. She was on her way to meet her mother when she noticed smoke coming from the trail as she crossed over the Pine Street bridge. She parked her vehicle and ran up the trail to the house.

“It was, like, all in flames. The whole front when I got there was all orange,” Staab said.

She ran to a neighbor’s house where she located two garden hoses, hooked them together and began dousing the fire.

“I was afraid when I got here the tree was on fire. I didn’t want it to cross over. I kept this part wet until I got another hose. I was panicky but I had adrenaline, too, so I wanted to help,” Staab said.

Crews from Nevada County Consolidated Fire, Grass Valley, Ophir Hill fire departments and an engine from state Calfire assisted Nevada City Fire in the suppression efforts.

The house was about 25 percent burned, Goodspeed said.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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