The blaze appears to have begun on the back deck of the house, but the cause remained under investigation late Wednesday, Anderton said. The 3,700-square-foot house was engulfed in flames when crews arrived. Firefighters approached the house from multiple sides, deploying a ladder truck to spray from above and knocking down a garden wall to find a good spot to attack the fire. As water poured over the burning home, huge clouds of smoke obscured the property. But even through the smoke, it was evident the house had sustained major damage. The house was deemed a total loss, the value of the damage being estimated at $1 million.
Runoff from the fire hoses was draining into an irrigation canal, so a hazardous materials crew was called out to try to keep pollutants from the canal. Anderton said crews didn't think the runoff would contaminate culinary water sources. As of Wednesday night, health inspectors believed all contaminants had been captured.
Crews were still at the house as of 10 p.m., putting out hot spots. A demolition crew was expected to knock down some of the structure to provide better access to smaller rooms that may be smoldering, Anderton said. Crews planned to monitor for flare-ups throughout the night.