A smoke alarm made a critical difference after a fire broke out in a Mammoth Lakes condominium over the weekend.
Just before midnight Saturday, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department was called out to a structure fire at the Timber Ridge condos. Tom Heller with Mammoth Fire reports that the occupant of the four story condo was in the shower when he heard the smoke alarm go off. The occupant then went to the fourth floor, where he saw smoke from the ceiling to the floor.
While on the phone calling 911 the man noticed flame inside the heat vent on the wood stove. Once the fire fighters arrived, they quickly put the fire out in the fire place and went to work to put out the fire burning in the chimney that ran the length of the wall outside the condo.
Working in deep snow, fire fighters were able to break into the chimney chase and work the fire, but Heller reports that the fire had spread into the floor joists and into a closet. Heller says that the flames were put out quickly, but fire fighters actively worked to reach areas for two and a half hours. One engine and crew stayed for an additional hour to make sure the fire did not rekindle.
The cause of the fire appears to be related to the fireplace/woodstove, but the exact cause remains under investigation.
Heller says that the occupant of the building was headed out for the evening when he heard the smoke alarm go off and called 911. Had the man already left, and had the smoke alarm gone unheard, the fire may have had more time to spread.