Fire claims 119-year-old Gardnerville home |

Fire claims 119-year-old Gardnerville home

Flames shoot from the roof of a 119-year-old Gardnerville home on Friday.
East Fork Fire Protection District

Extinguishing a fire in a 119-year-old Gardnerville home was a more than an hour-long battle on Friday while firefighters hacked their way into the structure.

“I’m extremely proud of how hard our firefighters worked today,” Battalion Chief Troy Valenzuela said Friday night.

East Fork firefighters responded to a report of smoke pouring from a home at 1421 Mission St., in Gardnerville at 11:20 a.m.

“The residence, which was built in 1901, strained the capabilities of the first arriving units as they attempted to locate the seat of the rapidly growing fire,” Valenzuela said. “Firefighters had to work their way in from the roof of the structure to create conditions that allowed for teams to enter the second floor.”

It took 70 minutes for 20 firefighters from four engines and three rescue units to bring the fire under control. There were no injuries to firefighters or bystanders.

The cause of the fire was accidental.

“These types of fires are very difficult to get the upper hand on and we were able to keep the bulk of the damage to the second floor and attic spaces which saved the majority of the personal belongings for the residents,” Valenzuela said.

The age of the building posed some challenges for firefighters.

“Structures this old have both good and bad properties in that they can be difficult to find and extinguish the fires but the integrity of the building can sustain long periods of fire without significant compromise,” Valenzuela said.

Tahoe-Douglas and Mono County firefighters responded to several calls, as did the East Fork Fire Protection District volunteer logistics staff. As firefighters cleared the structure fire there was a report of an active gas leak caused by diggers.

East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said he was proud of firefighters on the work.

East Fork firefighters have had a busy week, including responding to Thursday’s quarter-acre brush fire on Jacks Valley Road, responding on Wednesday’s Railroad Depot Fire in Dayton and a suspicious package on Monday evening.

“The district not only has been able to increase our number of career personnel on fires over recent years, in part due to a SAFER grant, but has been working hard to improve their efficiency in incident commend, tactics and taking full advantage of participating in a regional academy.”

The district received a $1.15 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response last year from the Department of Homeland Security. The grant allowed the district to add four firefighters.

“Our personnel and leadership from the top down has embraced this effort and extended it to existing personnel, applying it to our response,” Carlini said. “We have also retooled our volunteer program to provide for the logistical needs at incidents like this. It all worked well (Friday).”

Carlini said he was proud of the firefighters’ efforts on Friday and thanked the fire agencies that aided the district while it was working the Gardnerville fire.

“We couldn’t do what we do without our mutual aid resources up and down the Sierra Front,” Carlini said.