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San Luis Obispo house fire sparked by barbecue

Multiple agencies tackle San Luis Obispo house fire

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A fire that was accidentally started by a barbecue grill badly damaged a home Sunday in San Luis Obispo, forcing its tenants to move out.

The fire started outside of the house on the 1100 block of Atascadero Street in San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo fire Chief Garret Olson said.

Flames spread from the grill to combustible items before shooting up into the attic of the home, resulting in major damage to the residence and some nearby homes. The blaze was first reported at 4:51 p.m.

“The homeowner was using a barbecue, and due to an accident from cooking with it, flames spread rapidly from the wind and ignited some nearby combustibles,” Olson said. “Then the wind spread the fire to the attic area of the home.”

The fire jumped to the eaves of a home next door. A residence behind the property also was damaged.

“The winds were so incredibly strong at the time of this fire, the fire had literally leapt the street and was lighting brush on fire across the street,” Olson said.

The damage to surrounding homes varied from burnt landscaping to impacted fencing to broken windows, heat exposed eaves, and smoke staining, Olson said.

The fire was accidental, thus the department doesn’t anticipate any charges against the homeowner.

The man who was cooking outside in the backyard patio area of the property suffered some minor chest and abdominal injuries from the incident and was taken to a local hospital, Olson said. The multigenerational home housed six adults and two children. Three children had been visiting over the Father’s Day weekend.

Those tenants have since moved out because the home is not currently habitable, Olson said.

At least 10 firetrucks from several agencies responded to Sunday’s blaze, with crews responding within five minutes of the initial report.

The firefighters “found a tremendous amount of smoke coming from a single-family residence,” Olson said.

Multiple rooms were on fire when crews arrived at the scene, Olson said, which led him to believe the blaze “was very deep-seated prior to it being detected.”

Crews cut holes in the roof of the home where the fire started to release smoke and heat.

Fire officials fought the blaze for about an hour and are assessing the cost of the damage.

Tribune staff member Danielle Ames contributed to this report.

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