Firefighters pulled up to see flames coming from the cedar shingled roof near the chimney. The residents, a couple in their 80s, had already escaped the fire and were standing outside.
Firefighters attacked the fire, which unfortunately, had a pretty good head start. The roof and the second story of the home were thoroughly gutted.
The Red Cross provided the residents with temporary quarters which is typically local motel lodging.
Although no cause has officially been determined it’s believed the fire started in the home’s very old chimney which migrated from the chimney to the home’s attic – a typical problem with older homes with chimneys that are not routinely cleaned every year.
Central Coast Fire Chief Gary Woodson says chimney maintenance is critical in keeping a home safe. Chief Woodson says chimneys that aren’t properly maintained acquire a build-up of hot ash and creosote which gradually eats a path through chimney mortar and into the interior of the attic or crawl space. He says chimneys should be cleaned annually by a certified chimney sweep and inspected for weak spots in the chimney’s inside surfaces. Chief Woodson says only dried wood should be burned – NEVER green wood – or wood that has not been allowed to fully dry out. He says that kind of wood is the worst thing you can do to a chimney.