Fire destroys home |

Fire destroys home

by Christy Chalmers R-C News Service

A fire destroyed a Gardnerville Ranchos home Friday, displacing

a Douglas County deputy sheriff and his family, who had moved

in less than two weeks ago.

Witnesses said the fire, reported at 5:44 p.m., started along

a fence on the west side of the property at 1292 Franklin Lane

before jumping to the roof of the house.

It raced along the roofline, and firefighters reported the house

was three-quarters involved by the time they got there.

Fire Chief Jim Reinhardt said the fire, fueled by high afternoon

winds, started when a neighbor used a torch to burn weeds.

Bea McDonald, who lives directly east of the house at 1296 Franklin

Lane, said she was eating dinner with the shades drawn against

the afternoon sun when “I saw this big black thing go by the window.

“I thought, my God, it’s a plane and it’s coming down right here,”

she said. “Then I saw the flames and called 911.”

Lisa and Jerry Moya were driving by when they saw the flames.

They stopped and ran around the house, knocking on windows to

alert anyone who was inside.

“It was so hot we couldn’t even get to the hoses,” said Jerry


No one was inside, although officials took custody of a pet dog

left in the back yard. Homeowners Patrick and Suzanne Simmons,

were not home. Neighbors said they moved in about 10 days ago.

Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Biaggini said Patrick Simmons recently started

work as a deputy. Donations can be made by calling 265-1975.