Neighbors fight Foster City fire, but damage still dire

Despite the heroics of neighbors, a fast-moving fire tore though the garage and roof of a Foster City home Tuesday afternoon.

Just before 2 p.m., neighbors called 911 after hearing what sounded like an explosion at 140 Flying Cloud Isle.

“I was sitting at my kitchen table and I thought a semi had overturned on our street,” said June, a neighbor, who declined to give her last name. “I ran outside and saw flames shooting up between two houses and thick black smoke.”

The Reinhart family, who live across the street from the damaged home, also heard the noise. When they spotted the fire, they immediately sprung into action. Paul Reinhart doused the flames with a garden hose, while his 23-year-old daughter, Stephanie, went to work with a fire extinguisher. Son Max, 21, ran into the back yard of the flaming house, knocking on windows to alert residents before using another garden hose to battle the blaze.

As it turned out, the homeowners — a young couple with two young children, according to neighbors — weren’t home.

Firefighters arrived in three minutes, but not before a propane tank exploded near Paul Reinhart.

“It was a big ball of fire when it blew,” he said.

Foster City Fire Department Battalion Chief Nick Weber said responding firefighters found flames shooting through the roof, blowing shingles off the house and licking at the home next door.

A second alarm was called almost immediately. Twenty-eight firefighters from Foster City, San Mateo, Belmont/San Carlos, Redwood City and Central fire departments worked on the blaze and had it under control in about 10 minutes.

No cars were in the garage during the fire. A Porsche convertible sat unharmed in the driveway as firefighters shoveled charred shingles off its roof.

Weber said the cause of the fire is under investigation and there is not yet a monetary estimate of the damage. While the garage was destroyed, the rest of the house is still habitable, he said.

tbarak@examiner.com

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