El Dorado Hills firefighters investigate the scene of a residential structure fire that burned the garage, three vehicles and part of an Aldea Drive home in Serrano Tuesday evening. Village Life photo by Noel Stack

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Garage fire displaces family

By From page A4 | November 14, 2012

A quick-thinking Serrano security guard saved a family and a home from burning to the ground Tuesday evening when he spotted smoke coming from an Aldea Drive home’s garage and alerted the four people inside.

They tried to put out the fire using a garden hose, according to new EDH Fire Marshal Mike Lilientha, “but it was too far involved at that point.”

A little more than four minutes after receiving the call El Dorado Hills firefighters began knocking down the flames that engulfed the garage and a bedroom above, Lilientha said. They focused their efforts on preventing the fire from spreading to the rest of the home, he explained, and had the flames extinguished within about 10 minutes.

Firefighters stayed on scene for four hours, dousing hot spots. Though the rest of the home remained undamaged, the family can not live there because electricity and natural gas has been cut off, Lilientha said.

The damage is estimated at $300,000-plus. In addition to the structure, the fire burned three cars — a   2001 Acura MDX, a 2009 Acura MDX and a 2013 Hyundai Elantra — and various items stored in the garage.

Lilientha and El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Dave Roberts commended security guard Joe Oliver for his heroic actions, calling him a “huge asset.” A fire doubles in size every minute, Roberts said, and if hadn’t spotted the fire when he did the damage could have been much worse.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Lilientha said, but officials suspect it started in the back of the garage.

Noel Stack

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