3 houses destroyed, 7 people displaced after San Jose fire

A San Jose home smoldered for more than 6 hours after a fire began Monday afternoon.
April 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Firefighters poured water from every angle, in an effort to put out a fire that burned three homes in San Jose. The fire department said a gas line was fueling the fire, even after the walls of one home had burned to the ground.

The fire broke out at 3 p.m. near the San Jose-Campbell border on Mossbrook Circle in San Jose, near the Westgate Shopping Center. The house where the fire started was completely destroyed. Flames spread to two houses on Mossbrook Circle. The fire sent a tall column of smoke, high into the sky, above San Jose and Campbell.

The fire burned so fast, that an elderly woman, her son and her grandson barely had enough time to escape, let alone save their cars. Paul Heidenreich, the woman's grandson had a bad feeling his dog, Tyson, died in the fire.

"Really unsure right now. That's very unfortunate. I hope the dog's OK," said Steve Cohen, a neighbor.

Firefighters say a gas line in the house was shooting out flames, which made the fire even harder to control.

Pacific Gas and Electric crews were at the scene to turn off the gas service. The gas line was left burning so it consumes the gas, instead of potentially causing flash fires if the gas ignites.

Neighbor Judy Allen lives two doors down. She told ABC7 News, "People started banging on the door and saying, 'Get out, get out, get out.'"

Fire officials said the fire spread quickly because of the construction of the house, known as an Eichler, had an open-air design.

"It's generally, large, open areas, the Eichler homes. So, that allows for a lot of air and the natural flow of air through a home. So, with that, it allowed, plus it's a little bit windy out here; at the time, it allowed the fire to spread pretty quickly," said Captain Cleo Doss with the San Jose Fire Department.

PG&E cut off the gas two hours later, but not before the neighboring homes were badly damaged. A total of seven people were displaced. But there was a happy ending. Firefighters and police saw Tyson, the dog, frantically running around the neighborhood. He wouldn't stop for anyone until he saw his friend Paul and now nothing else seems to matter to Paul or Tyson.

There were no reported injuries.


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