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House fire near Cal Poly sparked by battery charger, official says

Firefighters at a house fire on Graves Street in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday evening.
Firefighters at a house fire on Graves Street in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday evening. jtarica@thetribunenews.com

A Tuesday night fire that displaced two residents from a house near Cal Poly was started by a battery charger, according to the San Luis Obispo city fire marshal.

No one was home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured. The fire was reported at about 8:13 p.m. at a residence on the corner of Graves and Slack streets.

Responding firefighters quickly attacked the fire from the inside, punching holes in the roof to allow heat to escape.

Fire Marshal Roger Maggio estimated about $30,000 in damage to the house, including smoke stains, damage to drywall and the holes in the roof.

Maggio said the fire ignited in a bedroom toward the back of the home at an unplugged charging station for a lithium polymer battery.

Though the station was unplugged, heat can still transfer from the charger to those types of batteries, Maggio said, and the unit created a small fire in the corner of the room. It did not have enough fuel to spread to the rest of the house.

Maggio said power remained off at the home Wednesday.

Temporary accommodations for the two residents were provided by the American Red Cross. A third resident had already left for the summer.

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