By Patch Contributor Joe Fanaselle
A Murrieta family was displaced Tuesday night after a fire broke out in the attic of their home.
At 8:34 p.m. Tuesday, the Murrieta Fire Department sent a full response when it received a report of a possible structure fire in the 40800 block of Ginger Blossom Ct. The first arriving engine crew reported heavy smoke showing from the attic of a two-story, single-family residence and a fire attack was initiated, according to Battalion Chief Steve Kean.
It took 16 firefighters approximately eight minutes to knock down the blaze, which was contained mostly to the attic area at 8:52 p.m., according to Kean.
A total of four fire engines, one ladder truck and one overhead officer responded to the incident, as well as an ambulance from American Medical Response for precautionary reasons. Additionally, one fire engine from the Riverside County Fire Department assisted by covering Murrieta Fire Station No. 2.
Firefighters were forced to remove areas of ceiling and drywall to allow access to the fire. In all, Kean estimated that there was approximately $60,000 in damage to the structure and an additional $20,000 damaged or destroyed contents.
He added that the quick work of firefighters in containing the blaze prevented at least another $250,000 in damages to the home and its contents.
The exact cause of the fire was still under investigation, but it is believed to have originated in either the furnace or fireplace/chimney area, Kean said. He noted that the homeowners had a new furnace installed about one month ago.
The family of four who live in the residence had already exited the home upon firefighters' arrival. They were displaced as a result of the fire, Kean said. He added that they were offered assistance by the American Red Cross, but declined. At one point, a firefighter was seen carrying a cage from the home containing a small pet—a hamster—which he handed to the residents.
No injuries were reported.
During cold weather, Kean said it is important for residents to exercise caution when trying to keep warm.
"Just make sure fireplaces are clean and maintained," he said.
"It's always a good idea to have your heater checked and inspected before the first use of the cold season," he added.