The Morro Bay Fire Department was unable to determine the cause of a Jan. 14 house fire that destroyed a small home in the 300 block of Orcas Street, just off North Main.
A neighbor across the street called 9-1-1 about 3:50 a.m. after seeing the flames billowing out of his neighbor’s home.
Firefighters, “reported heavy flames and smoke engulfing the approximately 1,200 square foot, single story residence, with 20-foot flames impacting a commercial structure to the west,” reads a news release from MBFD. That adjacent commercial structure is a private, pre-school and the building reportedly sustained water and smoke damage and had a big mess to clean up, but was otherwise saved.
The home had the accumulation of a man’s whole life stored inside. “Firefighting efforts were hindered by heavy fuel loading and debris,” MBFD said, “both inside and surrounding the structure.” That heavy amount of stuff made it impossible to fight the blaze from inside. “Fire crews were unable to perform interior attack due to poor visibility and intense heat from within the home, so the fire was fought defensively from outside and an adjacent rooftop.”
The fire was contained to the single home of origin, which sustained a 95% loss of the property inside and the house itself is a total loss. According to the fire department, the man who lived there was home in bed when the fire started, and he made it safely out of the residence.
The resident, who was not identified, was treated and released at the scene for minor smoke inhalation. One firefighter also suffered a minor injury.
MBFD was assisted by a total of seven fire engines and some 25 firefighters helped fight the blaze. Among the responding outside units were firefighters from Cal Fire, Cayucos Fire, SLO City Fire, California Men’s Colony Fire, and Templeton Fire Department.
According to Morro Bay Fire Marshal Matt Vierra they were unable to determine the cause of the fire, due to the extent of the damage and the amount of stuff inside that was destroyed.
Damages were estimated at $450,000 loss for the house, and $30,000 loss in personal contents, but they estimated they saved $1.5 million in property with the adjacent structures that were prevented from catching fire.
The photo here shows the intensity of the blaze as firefighters fight it from outside. Photos courtesy Morro Bay Fire Department.