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Owner Escapes From Fast-Moving Fire in Home

October 10, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

THOUSAND OAKS — A fast-moving fire destroyed a large home Monday afternoon, but the owner escaped unharmed with her two dogs, county fire officials said.

The blaze broke out about 5:15 p.m. in the 2700 block of East Sierra Drive. Before firefighters arrived, the owner, 76-year-old Eleanor Tydings, grabbed her dogs and fled the home.

"She had been napping and was awakened or woke up . . . and realized the house was on fire," said Sandi Wells, chief public information officer for the Ventura County Fire Department.

The fate of four cats inside the home was unknown late Monday, but Tydings told authorities she believed they had run to safety.

The fire was extinguished in about an hour. The cause was still under investigation late Monday because of the large amount of rubble that firefighters needed to sort through to find a "burn pattern," Wells said.

When firefighters arrived, the roof and attic area were engulfed in flames, and the fire spread quickly because Tydings had several stacks of newspapers, magazines and cardboard storage containers in the house.

Additionally, the home had an old shake shingle roof, which Wells said was very dry and burned quickly.

The fire was so intense, county fire officials received several calls from residents who could see smoke and flames. Damage to the home, valued at $420,000, was $350,000. Damage to the furniture and other personal belongings was $250,000, Wells said.

The home was considered a total loss. Tydings went to stay with her daughter.

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