High winds caused a fire Sunday morning and then frustrated firefighters in their efforts to control a blaze that caused at least $500,000 in damage to an unoccupied two-story Huntington Beach home, fire officials said.
Neighbors reported the fire at 9431 Gateshead Drive at 9:35 a.m., said Battalion Chief Tom Huntley, but because of the winds, it took firefighters 40 minutes to control the fire, which normally would have been controlled in 10 minutes.
The winds caused the fire to leapfrog two houses, catching another roof on fire. That home, at 9392 Gateshead, sustained about $500 in damage, Huntley said.
No one was injured in either fire.
The owner of the first home, Dave Timmering, was skiing in Mammoth at the time of the fire, Huntley said. He was on his way home Sunday after being notified of the fire.
The fire began on the outside of the roof, fire officials said, and it was caused by dry palm fronds blown in Sunday's high winds. Fire investigators on Sunday night said they determined that the winds blew the palm fronds onto electrical wires, where they ignited, and then the fronds blew onto the roof of the first house, starting the residential fire.