A fire late Saturday night destroyed a small, 2.5-story home in a densely forested residential area of Cambria. The blaze left Ron Cowan, 54, without a home, any of his personal belongings or his two beloved cats, which died in the fire, he said.
Fire officials estimate damages to the structure and its contents at between $400,000 and $450,000, according to Fire Chief Mark Miller.
Investigation into the fire on Andover Place is continuing. Miller said the area of origin appeared to be at or near the rear of the now-gutted home. That’s close to “where the power drop comes in,” Miller said, and the home’s “electrical panel apparently was fried.”
Investigating Capt. Bill Hollingsworth from Cambria Fire Department said he anticipates he and five other members of the San Luis Obispo County Fire
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Investigative Strike Team haven’t been able to definitively determine what triggered the blaze, and have listed the official cause as “undetermined.”
Cowan is looking for somewhere in Cambria to live, “so I can get some sleep and take a shower,” and be nearby to deal with insurance and other representatives, he said Monday morning. Cowan, who has no family members in the area, said, “I haven’t slept in two nights. This is all very overwhelming. It’s been quite a nightmare.”
Cowan wasn’t at his home when the fire started. It was reported about 11:30 p.m.
Cowan said he lost “a lot of family heirlooms, things that were my mother’s, and my grandma’s 1921 diploma from nursing school.”
When firefighters arrived, they found “the first floor was fully involved and, in my opinion, the fire was free burning throughout the structure” on Andover, Hollingsworth said. Initially, it was contained within the structure, but soon, flames were shooting out of windows and doors. —Kathe Tanner