Four escape as fire destroys Auburn house

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Four occupants of an Auburn home were able to escape a late-night fire.

The fire early Monday left the house at Landis Circle and Los Altos Drive on the outskirts of Downtown Auburn uninhabitable, with little inside salvageable, Auburn Fire Chief Dave Spencer said.

All occupants were out of the house by the time firefighters arrived. The home's owner woke up and heard a sound that alerted her to the spreading fire, Spencer said.

"She got out of bed and saw flames," Spencer said. "She went through the house to alert the others and make sure they got out."

Firefighting efforts to save the house were hampered by the spread along its shake-siding exterior, he said. A brisk wind also aided the fire's growth and resulted in a decision to back off on efforts to save the structure in favor of controlling the blaze to ensure that it didn't spread into adjoining grasslands or nearby buildings.

"The fire traveled quickly and we had to go on the defensive to keep it from spreading," Spencer said.

The cause of the fire, which is suspected to have started in the kitchen area of the house, had not been determined but is not being considered suspicious, he said.

The occupants, who left the fire with little but the clothes on their backs, were aided by the American Red Cross at the fire scene.

"Everything was a total loss," Spencer said.

While it wasn't known whether smoke detectors were in place and in operation in the house, Spencer said that the fire is a good reminder that they're a good early warning system that should be installed in all homes.