A major house fire occurred Sunday evening, Nov. 15, essentially destroying the house. At about 4:30 p.m., Idyllwild Fire Department received a dispatch alert about a house burning at 25435 Scenic Drive.
When IFD arrived, the house was already “fully involved,” according to Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz.
“Crews had some difficulty accessing the residence due to its location off of the roadway and the lack of driveway access to the residence,” he said. “[This] caused crews to hand-carry all hose and equipment to the residence.”
Because of the car in the driveway and neighbors’ comments, IFD was concerned the owner may have been inside. Consequently, Reitz said, “Crews searched the residence under heavy fire conditions in an attempt to locate the owner.”
Eventually, IFD confirmed the owner was not at home. “The owner’s dog, however, died in the fire,” said Reitz.
IFPD responded with an engine, a truck, a squad, an administrative unit and two ambulances. Mutual aid was received from Riverside County Fire and Cal Fire.
Sunday’s weather also contributed to IFD’s ability to prevent the spreading. Reitz said, “The rain helped prevent the spread into the vegetation; the increased humidity increased the effectiveness of firefighting efforts.”
At this time, the cause of the fire is still being investigated, Reitz added.
According to Zillow.com, the house was built in 1946 and was 1,200 square feet, though the realtor’s listing showed it at 1,742 square feet and a sale pending. The house was in escrow but had not yet closed, according to Idyllwild Realty Agent Sheila Zacker.
According to Zacker, the house had been in the owner’s family since it was built, compounding the loss, since many antiques and years of family history and memorabilia were lost.
Marshall Smith Contributed to this report.