The Cambria Fire Department responded to a single residence fire Friday morning at 12:30 a.m. on 2070 Wales Road.
Chief William Hollingsworth said the man inside the home, Dan Tower, was notified of the fire by a smoke alarm, got out safely then called 911.
“I was in total panic,” Tower said. “You know how you wake up from a deep sleep, and I wasn’t sure what was going on and I just flat panicked.”
Tower said his bathroom was engulfed.
“It was this heavy, acrid, yellow smoke,” Tower said. “I mean it was thick and I ran outside and grabbed my garden hose, ran around the back, tripped over a rock and hit my head on another rock and I’m squirting this thing and calling the fire department.”
A neighbor Tonia Stewart said the sound of the smoke alarm also woke her up.
“I saw a big blaze and realized ‘oh my gosh’, that’s my neighbor Dan’s house and I was just really concerned if he was in there still,” Stewart said.
Hollingsworth said fire crews were able to contain the fire to the single residence and it was put out by 3:30 a.m., but the house is destroyed.
Tower’s home has about 50 percent fire damage and at least 90 percent of smoke damage according to Hollingsworth.
Tower said he credits the smoke alarm for waking him up.
“I’m a pretty heavy sleeper… so you know I’m glad I have them,” Tower said.
He said he has lived in the home for five years and regularly checks the smoke detectors.
“It’s designed to wake you from a sound sleep. The National Fire Protection Association recommends testing your smoke detector once a month and changing the batteries at least annually,” Cambria Fire Department Captain Daniel McCrain said. ” A lot of the new styles come with a battery you don’t replace. They last for about 10 years and then you just dispose of them.”
The smoke detectors might have saved Tower’s life but he lost everything in the fire.
A neighbor set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for him to buy simple things like clothes, shoes and furniture.
The family who owns the home lives in Thousand Oaks. They said they’ve had the home since 2001 and several of their family heirlooms were inside.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A couple of members from the Red Cross were at Tower’s house this afternoon to help him get back up on his feet.
Several agencies assisted the Cambria Fire Department in putting out the fire including CAL FIRE Cayucos, a fire truck from the Morro Bay Fire Department and breathing support from the Templeton Fire & Emergency Services.