Mar 24, 2012 2:48 AM by Ariel Wesler

Car fire becomes house fire in Santa Maria

Firefighters responded to a house fire in Santa Maria on the 3500 block of Bedford Place just after 6:30 Friday night. Fire officials say it started in the garage and quickly spread to the rooftops.

Smoke blanketed Bedford Place as more than a dozen firefighters fought back the flames. Mark Owen lived there with his wife and 24-year-old-son.

"I was taking out the garbage and I saw a fire. There was in a '69 Volkswagen Bug in the garage and it started there," Owen said. "The car was engulfed."

His daughter and here son lived in the back of the property.

"We heard screaming and there was fire and we just started hearing pop, pop, pop," said Kristen Esparza, who was wrapped in a blanket.

Fire crews say the house had multiple layers of roofing, which helped fuel the flames.

All the animals got out safely, including a chinchilla. While the fire didn't get beyond the attic, firefighters say there was extensive water damage.

"I've had all this planned out for a fire, like I would grab this and this and this and I didn't grab anything. I'm barefoot," Esparza said.

"I'm OK. We got out but it was close. That thing went off. It went so fast," Owen said.

A family in shock and disbelief, but thankful they still have each other.

"I grew up in this house," Esparza said. We've got everything in there, pictures, photo albums, everything."

The family said they were planning to stay with relatives.

Santa Barbara County Fire and Santa Maria City Fire both responded to the incident. Family members say they will be staying with relatives.

Owen says the house is insured, but no word yet on the total cost of the damage.

The family says the home had a smoke detector.


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