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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Condo Fire Causes Heavy Damage

Fire investigators are probing what caused a Monday afternoon kitchen fire that heavily damaged a condominium and inflicted minor injuries on its resident, the Contra Costa Fire District said.

The two-alarm blaze was reported about 3:20 p.m. at a two-story unit in the 300 block of Camelback Road, prompting a six-engine response involving more than 30 firefighters.

They found the resident in a downstairs bedroom and helped him outside. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he inhaled smoke.

Firefighters needed about 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, which rendered both the condominium and a neighboring unit uninhabitable, the fire district said. At least $350,000 in damage was caused, and displaced residents were offered housing relief by the American Red Cross.

Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen but an exact cause has not been declared. The fire district said the resident was alerted to the fire by firefighters who entered his home; it was not immediately known whether the unit had working smoke alarms.

The fire district said smoke detectors should be placed in every bedroom and hallway, with at least one installed per floor. It also recommended that kitchen appliances should be turned off when not in use or not attended, and that combustible materials be kept away from heat sources such as stovetops.

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