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Chicken coop fire spreads to two homes

December 23, 2011 1:40:22 PM PST
A fire at a backyard chicken coop in San Jose on Thursday that spread to two homes and displaced 11 people and 10 dogs was apparently caused by an electrical malfunction, fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said Friday.

The two-alarm fire was reported in the rear of a house in the 4000 block of Paloma Avenue at about 1 p.m., Gutierrez said. Arriving firefighters found a chicken coop behind the house engulfed in flames.

The flames spread to that house and a nearby power pole, causing live electrical wires to come down, Gutierrez said.

The fire also reached a home on Ventura Avenue, burning a rear bedroom and an attic space. The blaze was brought under control by about 2:30 p.m.

Six chickens and two ducks were killed in the fire, Gutierrez said.

No human injuries were reported.

Gutierrez today said a preliminary investigation indicated that the fire was caused by a malfunction in either the heating lamps in the chicken coop that were used to keep the birds warm or an electrical problem with an extension cord.

Seven adults, four children and 10 dogs were displaced from the two damaged homes, Gutierrez said.

The blaze caused an estimated $20,000 in damage to the Paloma Avenue residence and $10,000 to the Ventura Avenue home.

The chicken coop was destroyed in the fire.

The downed wires caused a power outage, according to PG&E spokeswoman Monica Tell.

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