California Fire Causes $100,000 In Damages

Piedmont firefighters quickly contained a Palm Drive house fire -- and also rescued two birds, a hamster and a dog.

The Piedmont Fire Department received shortly after 3 p.m. on Aug. 4 from a resident living on a neighboring street. The man told firefighters that he saw smoke coming from Palm Drive.

Seven Piedmont firefighters manning two engines and an ambulance went to the scene, along with fire Chief John Speakman and an engine company from the Oakland Fire Department.

The Oakland crew served as a Rapid Intervention Team -- a group charged with the ensuring firefighter safety.

"We responded and found a visible fire at 220 Palm Drive," said Piedmont Lt. Mike Carlisle.

Firefighters sprung into action, first making sure that no one was in the home, he said.

Homeowners Gregory and Maria Moes were at work when the fire started. A neighbor contacted them by phone about it. They returned home while the fire was being extinguished.

Firefighters had the fire under control within 20 minutes of their arrival, according to Piedmont police records.

Though the fire's point of origin -- an exterior deck -- was established, the cause of the blaze remains undetermined, according to firefighters. "We don't know what triggered the fire," Carlisle said.

The fire caused an estimated $100,000 damage, Carlisle said. "There was a significant amount of smoke damage upstairs," he said.

"The fire had burned unchecked for awhile, so it burned through a downstairs window, then burned up the wall to an upstairs window," he said.

Maria is grateful for the Piedmont Fire Department's "amazingly fast" response to her home. "We're very lucky because they acted so fast," she said. "Five more minutes and some precious things would have been torched."

Total damage to the home is still being assessed, and the family is presently living elsewhere, Maria said.

Every room in the house will have to be painted, she said. Also, a few windows will need to be replaced and walls repaired. In addition, the home requires a new roof as well as some new flooring and carpeting, and several pieces of furniture must be replaced.

The family was most thrilled about the rescue of their pets, Maria said. None suffered any ill effects from the fire, she said.

The Piedmont resident understands that the rescue of her 7-pound Miniature Pinscher, who is 11 years old, was difficult.

"He doesn't like to be picked up by anyone. He attacked the fireman who tried to save him," she said.