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Inferno guts garage

Security guard Liza Baccetti was sitting in her Lake Wildwood office Thursday morning when the alert came in that a house was on fire on the 20600 block of Chaparral Circle.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s near my house,'” Baccetti said.

Her worst fears were realized when she drove to the scene and saw it was, indeed, the home she rents with her children.



“When I got there, it was full-blown, and the engines were on the way,” Baccetti said. “It was pretty scary. The flames were high, and I was afraid for the other homes.”

“It looks like it started in the garage and moved into the attic of the main living space,” added Penn Valley Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Don Wagner.




“A few more minutes, and we probably would have lost the whole rest of the structure,” Wagner said.

No people or pets were inside the home, and no firefighters were injured, Wagner said. The cause is under investigation.

Rough and Ready Fire Protection District Capt. Monty Wright knew the fire needed a quick response when he arrived.

“The garage was involved, smoke was coming out of the eaves, and there was fire in the attic,” Wright said.

“The interior crew pushed the fire back into the garage and back on itself, and that’s how the house was saved,” Wright said. “Once we vented the roof, the heat and smoke just poured out of there.”

An alert Pacific Gas and Electric Co. employee who was driving by also helped save the house. Neighbor Bernita Dodge was home across the street, when the excited PG&E worker, whose name she did not get, banged on her door.

“He said, ‘Call 911 – that house is on fire,'” Dodge said.

She called and firefighters were dispatched quickly.

Neighbor Holly Murphy also had driven up on the smoky scene and was surveying it from the street with other spectators.

“I could feel the heat from the flames driving by, and I could smell the smoke with the windows rolled up,” Murphy said.

By the time she pulled over, Penn Valley firefighters were on the way, along with Nevada County Consolidated Fire District and Rough and Ready Fire Protection District fire engines.

Baccetti had left at 6 a.m. for work, and her children left the house about 7:30 a.m. She cruised by on patrol minutes later, and the house was fine.

As she watched her garage smolder, Baccetti said she was unsure of the amount of destruction and where she would go.

With smoke damage apparent inside, “I’ll probably have to get rid of everything,” she said.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4237.


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