Family loses all in house fire |

Family loses all in house fire

A U-Haul was parked in front of the burned ruins of a home on Howe Avenue in Alta Sierra Sunday, and the owners, Christine and Gregg Quick, were packing boxes of family photos and other things they had stored in the garage, thankful the items were spared.

The Ponder family, the tenants who rented the property from the Quicks, were not so fortunate in the fire that engulfed the two-story, gamble-style home Saturday evening.

“They lost everything,” Christine Quick said.

The Quicks rented the home to Liz and Tim Ponder and their three children – a 10-year-old son and two daughters who are 5 and 6 years old. Nobody was home when the fire started, and nobody was hurt. The Ponders had left the house about an hour before the fire was reported, explained Christine Quick. Neighbors who witnessed the fire reported it at 4:50 p.m. and firefighters responded within two minutes, but were too late.

“It was gone within 25 minutes,” said Gregg Quick.

The Quicks got a call that there was an emergency and quickly drove up from Yuba City, where they now live. Christine Quick said they expected to see at least part of the house still intact, but by the time they got there they could tell it would be completely lost. They had owned the property for five years, and it had been their home before moving to Yuba City.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but firefighters told Christine Quick that the fire had started outside at the rear of the house, she said, pointing to an area near a burned skeleton of a trampoline.

Ten fire engines responded, along with one bulldozer, one helicopter, two air tankers, one air attack airplane and two water tenders.

“It is always this way when there is a threat to the wildland,” said California Department of Forestry Public Information Officer Tina Rose.

The fire also burned about one acre of surrounding property, but no other homes were affected. Air tankers dumped fire retardant on the burning home, leaving red residue in the grass next to the blackened remnants of the home.

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