On the afternoon of April 17, a single-family home caught fire in Cardiff. No one was home at the time. It was only when neighbors smelled smoke that they went outside to investigate. By that time, flames were coming out of the front of the garage.
When two units from the Encinitas Fire Department arrived, the flames were “shooting out 20 feet into the driveway,” says fire marshal Bob Scott. The fire had already spread to a balcony over the garage, blown out a sliding glass door, and entered into the second story.
It took firefighters 15 minutes to extinguish the flames. They had to bash in the hot aluminum garage door to fight the fire inside the garage. Scott says it is clear the fire was accidental, caused by combustible material being placed too close to the water heater.
The house is not a total loss to the family of five. With the garage and upstairs damaged, estimated loss is around $200,000.
Scott said he sees too many fires caused by the same circumstances and that any combustible material such as paint cans, gasoline, fertilizer, propane tanks — even the little green ones used for camping — should be stored on the other side of the garage from water heaters, at least ten feet away.