Pipe work, not arson, cause of Pleasanton fire

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- Pleasanton fire investigators have determined the cause of an overnight fire that destroyed several homes under construction Tuesday morning.

The fire was so big, people could see it from I-680. Many called it in just after 2 a.m., but when firefighters pulled out of their station they realized they didn't need an address.

"Really, as soon as we pulled out of the door, we saw large volume of smoke and flames from this address," said Battalion Chief Joe Testa of the Livermore-Pleasanotn Fire Department.

Two homes that are under construction on Valley Avenue were on fire. The neighborhood is so new,firefighters found out the hard way that the fire hydrants don't even have water in them yet.

"It probably added another three or four minutes to get water on the fire, so initially we tried the onsite hydrants and ended up using incoming units to bring water from Valley Avenue to the scene," said Testa.

As the sun came up, and neighbors woke up, speculation started swirling. Especially on Election Day. Pleasanton residents say growth in this East Bay city is a big controversy.

"There are some candidates who are pro-growth and some who are slow growth. So when you see something like this, it does make you wonder, you know, are there some factions, some crazy people who are just out to do something to get their point across," said Harinder Grewal of Pleasanton.

Firefighters suspected arson at first, but investigators later determined that copper pipes that had been heated earlier in the day, started the fire.

The developer says interest level in this new neighborhood is high, and that they will rebuild.

"There will be 97 single family homes, 210 apartments, we've got a really nice pool area that oes in here, sow it will be a nice development." said Brock Rose of De Nova Homes.

They will have to demolish the two homes destroyed by fire. Two other suffered minimal damage.
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