Fire burns two homes in Arroyo Grande

Fire erupts from roof of a home Friday on the 1100 block of Farroll Avenue in Arroyo Grande.
Fire erupts from roof of a home Friday on the 1100 block of Farroll Avenue in Arroyo Grande. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com


Residents of two Arroyo Grande homes were displaced Friday afternoon after a fast-moving fire engulfed both structures, filling the air with flames and smoke.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported at 3:33 p.m. at 1116 Farroll Ave., according to Five Cities Fire Chief Steve Lieberman. Firefighters were on scene at 3:37 p.m. Lieberman said the fire started in a shed that housed a gun safe and some ammunition. He was unsure whether any of the ammunition went off, although witnesses at the scene reported hearing an explosion and subsequent popping sounds.

Homeowner Ken Goodman, 83, was repairing his boat outside and his wife, Ruth, was getting ready to leave when she noticed the flames and said, “The shed’s on fire! It’s on fire!” Before Goodman was aware of the severity, he ran into the house for a fire extinguisher but quickly abandoned that idea and dashed out.

“It was an inferno,” said Goodman, who’s owned the house since 1970.

The fire jumped to the neighboring home at 1108 Farroll when winds blew the flames in that direction. That property is a home for developmentally disabled residents. All were evacuated safely.

“I’m glad nobody was hurt,” Goodman said. “I’m glad that our neighbors got out.”

The Goodmans’ daughter and grandson also live at the house but weren’t home at the time. Goodman had no idea how the fire started, but he said the shed also contained three cutting torches.

The Red Cross was on scene to offer housing assistance. The developmentally disabled residents were moved to other facilities, Lieberman said.

The damage to the homes was severe, he said, as firefighters continued to extinguish embers after 6 p.m.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and an estimate of the damage was not available Friday evening.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Fire Chief Steve Lieberman confirmed that one of the homes is a residential care facility for developmentally disabled adults.

Those residents have been moved to one of the facility's other locations, Lieberman said.

He said the firefighters are "still putting water" on the flames but have had limited success controlling it so far.

"It's a stubborn, stubborn fire," he said.

Original story:A structure fire burning on Farroll Avenue in Arroyo Grande has engulfed two homes and is threatening others, authorities say.

Firefighters with the Five Cities Fire Authority are fighting a blaze that started at 1100 block of Farroll Avenue around 3:33 p.m., but the flames have since spread to a neighboring home, Fire Chief Steve Lieberman said.

All occupants have been safely evacuated, and the Red Cross has been called to help find replacement housing for the displaced individuals, Lieberman said.

Cal Fire is currently assisting in the response. As of 4:35 p.m., the fire was still burning.