NOVATO (CBS SF) — An intense fire swept through a cluttered Novato home late Monday night, claiming the life of an 84-year-old woman, authorities said.
Novato Fire Chief Bill Tyler said his agency got a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. reporting a home engulfed in flames in the 600 block of Chase St.
“We got a call from a passerby,” Tyler said. “The reporting party said there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the home — the windows and attic area…When fire crews arrived they encountered heavy fire through the roof at that point.”
Fire crews launched an aggressive assault on the blaze, but immediately encountered an obstacle.
“Crews tried to make immediately entry in the building — it was very difficult because this house was full of materials, extra storage,” Tyler said. “Crews did finally make entry. They found a woman in her 80s in the home down. Crews rescued her, brought her outside and attempting live-saving CPR. The woman passed away as a result of her injuries from the fire.”
The Marin County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim as Ardith Marie Parra, 84. Parra was the lone occupant of the home, firefighters said. No other injuries were reported.
“She apparently had been with friends earlier this evening, was dropped off after doing some shopping about 7:30 p.m,” Tyler said. “That was the last time she was seen.”
The cause was still under investigation. Firefighters remained at the scene for hours, extinguishing hot spots amid the clutter.
“Because of all of the fuel loading inside, it’s very difficult to extinguish all of the fire,” Tyler said. “They (the firefighters) have to pull all the material out. The attic was plywood with full storage as well…There was a large volume of storage from what people would normally use in a home.”