SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A resident making fried chicken on a backyard patio led to a two-alarm house fire in which flames spread to gas tanks, trees and power lines in East San Jose on Monday night, a fire department spokesman said Tuesday.
Firefighters responded to multiple reports of black smoke coming from a home in the 14000 block of Lieb Court near South White and Story roads around 7:15 p.m., fire Capt. Christopher Salcido said.
The incident was quickly upgraded to a second alarm when firefighters learned the blaze was spreading to grass, Salcido said.
When crews first arrived they found a one-story home on fire that extended to large trees, according to Salcido.
Residents were evacuated due to heavy smoke coming from the fire, and PG&E was called to address utility services at the scene, Salcido said.
Fire officials initially reported that there was a gas leak to a PG&E line, but utility personnel who responded to the scene later found the company’s lines were intact, Salcido said.
Firefighters found gas from propane and acetylene tanks at the backyard were exposed to the fire, resulting in flames shooting as high as 30 feet in the air, the spokesman said.
PG&E crews were able to secure live electrical lines that fell down due to the fire, according to Salcido.
There were 358 PG&E customers who lost power from the blaze, utility officials said.
The blaze was under control at about 9:45 p.m., he said.
The fire was caused by a resident using a deep pan to fry chicken in oil on the backyard patio, Salcido said.
Four adults who lived at the home safely evacuated and found assistance through other family members, Salcido said.
A firefighter who suffered a heat-related injury was transported to a hospital and released, according to Salcido.
The blaze spread to a shed behind the affected home, which sustained significant damage, according to Salcido.
One neighbor attempted to extinguish the fire after crews arrived to the scene to prevent flames from spreading to his own home while standing next to a downed power line, fire Capt. Mitch Matlow said.
Firefighters dealt with multiple hazards at the same time and created a hectic scene that brought large crowds outside the home, Matlow said.
While it is exciting to watch a fire, the public is advised to view the blaze from a significant distance and move away from smoke, Matlow said.
“It was more complicated than the normal fire. This was an extraordinary fire,” Matlow said.
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