GEORGETOWN (CBS13) – A fast moving brush fire in El Dorado County near Georgetown quickly grew to 38 acres Saturday.
The flames caused evacuations at Highway 193 and Empire Creek Circle.
Neighbors believe a blown transformer started the fire. They say they heard a loud explosion and then a few minutes later could see flames and smoke coming straight toward their homes.
“His house was built in the 1920s. So very dry and very old, I’m not surprised unfortunately,” said Mike Brown.
A fast-moving wildfire came racing towards the Georgetown community, right up to downtown homes and businesses.
“Once it came over, the fire just took off; and the neighbor who lost his house had some pine trees on the roadway and it just jumped from pine tree to pine tree,” said Brown.
Neighbors say they heard a popping sound minutes before the area behind their homes lit up with flames.
“This fire quickly spread right into the subdivisions to where the homes were before we could even get our engines and equipment in,” said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.
Almost nothing was left of the burned home. Some of the contents of the home can still be made out, like what appears to be a kitchen sink and a bathtub with the water still running.
“He was able to get his dog out and just a couple of things before he lost his house,” said Brown.
Brown says he and some nearby neighbors immediately started drenching their properties as the flames got closer, and were able to save the home next door.
“We had hoses on both sides,” he said.
The fire could have been much worse if not for the quick actions of neighbors and fire crews. It is now 70 percent contained.
“I’m just thankful that I was able to get a hold of my wife and son, and they were out working and able to come help protect the house,” said Brown.
One hundred nearby homes were evacuated but residents have been allowed back. However, crews could be mopping-up for most of the night.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Editor’s Note: Originally Cal Fire reported the fire had grown to 50 acres, but was later reduced with more accurate GPS mapping.