Sunset Beach Home Collapses in Raging Fire

Hot briquettes from barbecue cause wooden deck to explode in flames

By Jack Noyes, Kevin Takumi and Patrick Healy
|  Friday, May 13, 2011  |  Updated 10:12 AM PDT
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Dramatic video of a beach-front home collapsing during a fire. The home was one of several that burned near the 16500 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Sunset Beach

KNBC

Dramatic video of a beach-front home collapsing during a fire. The home was one of several that burned near the 16500 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Sunset Beach

A firefighter and resident were injured Thursday in a fire at a Sunset Beach home along the Orange County coast.

Authorities said the firefighter suffered a rib injury. The firefighter slipped and fell on the roof and hit a ledge

Flareups continued early Friday, hours after the home collapsed Thursday evening after being consumed by a five-alarm fire. The beachfront home at 16577 North Pacific Avenue burned for about 40 minutes before the frame gave way to stubborn flames and fell to the ground.

"I always imagined we'd have an earthquake or a tsunami, but never a fire," said Amy Lipeles, one of the homeowners. "It's really wonderful that everyone got out safely. That's the important thing."

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown told NBC4 LA a spark from a flaming briquette blew from a deck barbecue and caught the underbelly of the wooden deck on fire.  Firefighters were called to the blaze at 4:51 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m. the three-story house collapsed.  Tightly packed beachfront homes on either side of the house at were damaged but most likely salvageable according to Capt. McKeown.  A fourth home just south of the fire sustained minor fire and water damage.

Orange County sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol shut down Pacific Coast Highway from Anderson Street to Warner Avenue, leading to heavy backups in rush hour traffic.
   
Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley firefighters joined the Orange County Fire Authority to battle the flames, Capt. McKeown said.
  
Firefighters got out of the home before it collapsed, according to McKeown, who said strong onshore winds posed an additional challenge for firefighters as they worked to keep the flames from spreading.

Six hours after the initial call a small amount of flames were still burning on the roofs on either side of the collapsed home.

The damage included a covertible Bentley.

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