An evening of barbecuing went awry Wednesday, engulfing a house in flames and sending up a plume of black smoke that could be seen for miles.
A resident at the house located at 13 Corte Nueva, a quiet cul-de-sac in the Millbrae Hills, told firefighters that he was attempting to light his barbecue grill outside the house shortly after 4 p.m.,according to Millbrae Fire Chief Dennis Haag. Flames flared up, which caught the exterior of the house on fire and quickly spread into the kitchen.
“He told us he tried to put it out with a towel, and he wound up with burns on his hands,” Haag said.
As soon as the resident realized he couldn’t extinguish the fire on his own, he called the fire department. Crews began arriving at the scene shortly after 4:15 p.m., and called a second alarm at 4:19 because of the extent of the blaze.
“There was a bunch of black smoke — you could see it from a few miles away,” Millbrae Police Department Officer Minh Trien said.
Eight fire engines, four ladder trucks and two battalion chiefs were called to the scene, bringing with them teams from Millbrae Fire, Central County Fire and San Bruno Fire, according to Haag. The blaze was out by 4:44 p.m.
The one-story house suffered fire damage to the kitchen area and smoke damage throughout, Haag said.
Shingles on the front of the house were sooty and windows on the main floor and in the roof area were broken so firefighters could get to the flames.
Damage estimates were not immediately available. Neighboring houses were not damaged.
Residents in nearby homes were told to shelter in place, Haag said. Neighbors trying to get to their homes were turned away until the blaze was extinguished.