“Raging Inferno” Burns Three Homes in Garden Grove

The fire burned in what firefighters described as pack rat conditions and damaged nearby residences

Crews used construction equipment to remove piles of debris left behind Friday morning by a fire that burned in packrat conditions and spread to three homes in a Garden Grove neighborhood.

The homes and at least two outbuildings were damaged in a three-alarm house fire in Garden Grove late Thursday. When firefighters arrived at the 14400 block of Flower Street at around 10 p.m. they found single story house well alight, the Garden Grove Fire Department said.

A tightly packed garage, which contained oxygen and carbon tanks that exploded, made the fire particularly difficult to battle. A travel trailer also was inside the garage.

"There were numerous items in there," said Capt. Jim Gabbard, of the Garden Grove Fire Department. "A large amount of construction materials, several acetylene tanks, carbon dioxide tanks, oxygen tanks that were igniting and exploding and leaking."

Crews used a backhoe to remove piles of debris after the fire.

The blaze quickly escalated to a second alarm then a third alarm fire after the flames spread to nearby buildings. Kim Le was in bed when she noticed flames from the home next door. The fire spread to her attic and damaged her bedrooms and living rooms.

It took firefighters around three hours to fully extinguish the flames, and three homes and at least two sheds sustained fire and water damage. Two of the houses sustained extensive damage.

"It was like a raging inferno," said resident Tommy Levan. "From a little fire like this, it seemed like it was an explosion or something."

One firefighter suffered minor injuries.  In total, 12 people are affected and the Red Cross will assist displaced residents with temporary housing.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and arson investigators were expected to remain on the scene for several hours.

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