RODEO -- A house fire sparked by a space heater Thursday night caused about $200,000 in damage, but no one was injured, fire crews said Friday.
Shortly after 10 p.m., crews responded to 911 calls from neighbors reporting a house was on fire and the flames were threatening an adjacent apartment building at 733 San Pablo Ave. in Rodeo, said Pinole Battalion Chief Brian Lowry.
The 59-year- old man who lived in the home told fire crews he was having problems with an electric space heater in the home's front room. When he went out the front door to look for his dog, a security door locked behind him and he could not get back inside. The man said he then heard crackling sounds inside his home.
Peering through the door, the man told fire crews he saw the space heater start a fire that quickly spread to the sofa.
When firefighters arrived heavy smoke and flames were coming from the front of the home, with the porch and front rooms burning and threatening an adjacent apartment building. A total of 19 firefighters worked the fire and had it under control in roughly 30 minutes.
The Contra Costa Sheriff's Office assisted with traffic control for three hours and American Red Cross assisted the man who was displaced from his home. Moraga-Orinda Fire District also assisted, providing coverage for Pinole, Rodeo and Hercules for three hours.
Lowry said the fire is a reminder to all residents to turn off space heaters when leaving a room or going to bed. Also, fire crews remind people to keep combustible materials at least three feet away from the heaters and never use extension cords. Heaters with an automatic shut off switch are best in case the heater tips over, Lowry said.