Potting soil combustion blamed in Johnson Lane house fire
May 19, 2014
Spontaneous combustion from potting soil in planter boxes was determined to be the cause of an early morning house fire that destroyed a Downs Drive home.
The two residents of the home escaped with only the clothes on their back and their dogs in the early hours of Monday morning.
Owned by Robert and Caren DeVita, the fire was reported after Caren was awakened by her two dogs barking. When she went to investigate she saw a glow at the rear of the house, and smoke inside the house.
East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said the fire, reported at 3:55 a.m., was in the attic and had a pretty good start when fire crews arrived.
East Fork Capt. Terry Taylor estimated damage to the 2,400-square-foot home at $400,000.
"The house looks like a bomb hit it," he said. "The roof collapsed over the living room and kitchen, as well as the back bedrooms and bathrooms and the garage. It's major, major damage."
According to Taylor, the fire started in the planters on the patio of the home and worked its way into the attic where it spread to the rest of the house.
The DeVitas have lived in the home for seven years. Nobody was injured in the fire.
East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts, Johnson Lane Volunteer Fire Department, Sheridan Volunteer Fire Department and Carson City Fire Department personnell responded.