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Arroyo Chico home destroyed in fire

Area was evacuated based on fears the blaze might spread to other homes.

August 26, 2010|By Cindy Frazier, cindy.frazier@latimes.com

Editor's note: This corrects Jeff LaTendresse's title.

Three Laguna Beach residents are homeless after a fire destroyed 70% to 80% of a 2,000-square-foot home in the 400 block of Arroyo Chico on Tuesday night, Laguna Beach Deputy Chief Jeff LaTendresse said.

It was feared the fire could spread to homes on the small street, which is surrounded by eucalyptus trees, and the neighborhood in the cul-de-sac was evacuated, he said.

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A woman who lived in the residence came home about 9:30 p.m. and reported that the deck was on fire, LaTendresse said.

"She said the fire was spreading to the house," he added.

A number of 911 callers told dispatchers the trees were on fire, but the blaze did not spread to the nearby vegetation, he said.

The fire is believed to have resulted from a toaster oven being used on the wood deck, LaTendresse said.

"The cause is the improper use of the oven near combustible material," he said Thursday.

LaTendresse said firefighters knocked the blaze down within about 45 minutes of arriving at the scene, but stayed all night to make sure there were no hot spots or embers that could spread the fire.

The loss of the home is estimated at $800,000. There was also an extensive collection of artworks in the home, which was owned by artists who exhibited at the Sawdust Festival, he said.

The fire was difficult to fight because of the large amount of possessions in the home, including paintings, sculptures and ceramic objects, he added.

The three residents, a man, woman and an elderly woman, are staying with friends, he said. No injuries were reported from the blaze.

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