NEWPORT BEACH — An early morning fire ripped through a newly constructed bay-front house on Wednesday, causing more than $600,000 in damage and slightly injuring one firefighter, officials said.
Dave Freimann, the owner of the property, said he and his family were just about ready to move into the five-bedroom, $750,000 house, which was only two weeks away from completion on the million-dollar lot.
The blaze broke out about 2 a.m. on the second story of the single-family house on Harbor Island Road, Fire Capt. Ray Pendeleton said.
"It sort of looks like right now that it's probably going to turn into something that was accidental due to painters' leaving rags around," Pendeleton said.
Freimann said the most likely scenario was that paint cans or paint rags spontaneously combusted to start the fire. The fire was limited to the second floor of the house, but there was some water damage to the first floor.
The injured firefighter was treated at the scene for second-degree burns to the back of his neck, Pendeleton said. The house was unoccupied.
Freimann, who is the owner of the Ridgeline Country Club in Orange, said in a brief telephone interview that he and his family have been working on the house for about 18 months. He and his wife have three children, a son, 13, and 12-year-old twin girls.
The family had been renting a Newport Beach condominium while the house was being built. Freimann said the 5,000-square-foot structure was insured.
Freimann's property, which overlooks the harbor but is not located on Harbor Island, is valued at about $1.1 million, according to county tax records.