Man barely escapes as morning fire consumes home |

Man barely escapes as morning fire consumes home

The Union photo/John HartNevada County Consolidated Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Hidden Valley Road near South Ponderosa Way at about 4:30 a.m. this morning.
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A Nevada County man clad only in underwear had to jump out a window of his flaming house this morning to save his life.

Paul Lausche escaped with burns on his hands about 4:30 a.m., according to the county Red Cross. But he lost virtually everything and his home at 13555 Hidden Valley Road, said Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Chief Tim Fike.

Fike said fire investigators think the blaze started from cigarette material in a living room chair. “(It) smoldered for quite some time,” Fike said. “He was asleep in a closed bedroom when he woke up and barely escaped.”

Lausche was the sole occupant of the approximately 1,200-square-foot home in the area off of McCourtney Road near South Pondersosa Way that is dotted with houses on acreage, Fike said.

Consolidated firefighters could not save the home but did manage to control flames that had spread onto Lausche’s property, Fike said. A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection crew cut a fire line around the blaze which had a lot of potential to spread into a steep slope area filled with brush.

“If that had been in the afternoon, we would have had major spot (fire) problems,” Fike said. High morning humidity and calm winds “made a huge difference.”

Fike said the Red Cross is finding housing and clothes for Lausche.

For more on this story, check out Saturday’s The Union

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