Woodside fire burns property, cars and hillside

A spark from a welding torch may have started a blaze that burned down a carport, two vehicles and a hillside of vegetation Saturday evening, according to fire officials.

One firefighter sustained minor burn injuries in the two-alarm fire, Woodside Fire Department Battalion Chief Dan Ghiorso said.

But Ghiorso said the damage could have been far worse had it been windy or had the fire come later in the season.

The fire was reported at 5:28 Saturday evening; the fire department responded within five minutes and had water on the flames within about seven minutes, he said. When they arrived, the fire was already consuming the carport and two cars.

A second alarm was called because the vegetation around the carport began to catch fire. Woodside, an unincorporated town in the forested hills southwest of Redwood City, is densely wooded and fires there can escalate quickly, he said.

To respond to the forest fire, two engines were posted at the top of the hill to battle the climbing fire. Firefighters were able to douse the flames before it spread further. The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes, he said.

A firefighter was injured as he was tying barrier tape around the scene and his arm touched a piece of hot rebar, Ghiorso said. The burn was minor enough that the firefighter was treated on scene, he said.

Ghiorso said the investigation is not yet conclusive, but it appears the fire may have started in the carport, where residents were welding a fender onto a motorbike, he said.

Most of the damage was limited to the destroyed carport and the two totaled vehicles, he said. There was some harm to the utility room under the house, but otherwise the house survived the blaze, he said.

“If this was September or October, or if there had been any heat, or any wind at all, this could have been a whole different scenario,” Ghiorso said.

Ghiorso said the fire caused approximately $80,000 in damage to the home and that the two residents are temporarily displaced.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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