Firefighters respond to two home fires in eight days |

Firefighters respond to two home fires in eight days

by Kurt Hildebrand

A fire that destroyed a Topaz Ranch Estates home on Saturday night appears to have been the result of a home improvement project.

Firefighters from Topaz and Gardnerville responded to the fire at 3656 Granite Way at 6:02 p.m. on Saturday, according to East Fork Fire Capt. Terry Taylor.

“The homeowner had been repairing the plumbing and the fire started in an area where they’d been sweating new copper pipe,” Taylor said Monday.

The work was finished at 2:30 p.m. and the fire apparently smoldered in the home for several hours.

A neighbor passing by Saturday evening said she saw fire coming out of the window and called 911.

East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts career and volunteer firefighters were on the scene quickly and extinguished the blaze.

Taylor said he estimated damage to the home was about $100,000.

“They got it knocked down fast,” he said.” It was a really great save and there is a lot of the structure left. But once you get a fire in a mobile home it’s hard to recover.”

There was an early concern someone might have still been inside, but Taylor said that turned out to be wrong.

“There were furnishings in the back of the house and the family is back there seeing what they can save,” he said.

No one was living in the home at the time.

“They were fixing it up and had done extensive work on the exterior, including new siding and windows,” he said. “They took a fixer upper and had it looking good until this happened.”

The home is owned by Francisco and Esperanza Silva of Gardnerville.

The fire was the second in eight days to damage a home in Douglas County.

What is believed to be a faulty microwave set a fire at 1355 Topaz Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16.

The fire was discovered when 17-year-old Daniel Tsuchimoto tried to heat up some soup in the microwave, Taylor said.

“The top of the microwave caught fire, burned into the cabinet and into the attic and onto the shake roof,” Taylor said. “Daniel was there and saw it go. He warned his folks and called 911.”

Volunteer and career firefighters from the Gardnerville Ranchos, Gardnerville and the East Fork Fire District responded to the blaze.

“They jumped on it,” Taylor said. “Because it ventilated through the attic, there was very little smoke in the house and the belongings.”

Daniel’s parents are Glenn and Cari Tsuchimoto.

Taylor said the microwave was a newer model Maytag that was installed into the cabinet over the stove.

“It decided it didn’t like life anymore,” he said of the cause. “I think the coil fried.”

Taylor estimated the damage to the home at $15,000.