Three evacuated from house fire in Kentfield

May 20, 2013 3:44:32 PM PDT
Investigators say they may have figured out what caused a raging house fire in Marin County early Monday morning. The fire broke out at 2 a.m. and 10 engine companies from San Rafael, Corte Madera and Kentfield responded to the fire. Parts of a garage and guest house were engulfed in flames.

Firefighters were concerned because the home is in a wooded area but, crews were quickly able to contain the blaze.

Police say they're pinpointing the cause of the fire to a weekend barbeque.

Fierce flames broke through the roof of the home, and spread quickly. An elderly woman, her son and his wife narrowly escaped and ran next door to their neighbor's home to call for help.

"They were in the process of calling 911 and the fire reached their phone and the 911 call got cut off," neighbor Mike Baldwin said.

At sunrise, the extent of the damage became painfully clear. The roof collapsed in the center of the mid-century home. The garage was destroyed, along with a vintage 1966 mustang.

"I'm aghast! I've never seen anything like this, particularly so close to our house," neighbor Bobbie Becker said.

Homeowners told firefighters they were barbecuing Sunday night and investigators have confirmed that the fire was caused by an ember from the babecue.

"All it takes is one ember. If you put it in a garbage can it can ignite everything that's around it and it can sit there and smolder for days," Battalion Chief Mike Hadfield said.

Police estimate total damages from the fire to be $500,000. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.