Fri08012014

News

Fire damages historic Los Altos home


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
A one-alarm blaze reportedly caused by a power surge damaged an Almond Avenue residence listed on the city’s Historic Resources Inventory.

A single-alarm fire last week damaged an Almond Avenue home listed on the city’s Historic Resources Inventory, according to an official with the Santa Clara County Fire Department.

“It looks like it was a power surge,” arson investigator Dennis Johnsen said of what appeared to cause the Nov. 25 fire. “The house was energized way more than normal.”

The fire was reported at approximately 4:30 p.m., shortly after a live power line fell nearby and struck another line spanning the immediate area, Johnsen said. Soon after, he added, a power surge in the home likely ignited a fire near the basement furnace and spread upward “pretty quickly” to the kitchen and hallway.

An adult male escaped the home uninjured and called 911, Johnsen said. The blaze forced fire and police responders to shut down a portion of the street and divert traffic for approximately two hours.

One firefighter was injured and taken to El Camino Hospital for treatment before being released to full duty, according to a Santa Clara County Fire Department report on the incident.

Johnsen described damage to the home as “moderate” and added that the downed line also caused a small fire on a separate utility pole. However, he wasn’t ready to “connect the dots” and cite a definitive cause for the house fire because the investigation is ongoing. A call to PG&E for additional information has not been returned.

The damaged home is located at the corner of Beverly Court and Almond, near Santa Clara County Fire Department Station No. 15.

According to Los Altos Historical Commission records, the Spanish Revival-style home – owned by the Marv and Barb D. Emerling Trust – was originally built in the early 1920s and placed on the city’s Historic Resources Inventory in 2011.

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