4-Alarm Fire Engulfs San Jose Home

One firefighter suffered minor burns and seven people were displaced after the fire on Conifer Lane.

By Breena Kerr
|  Wednesday, May 30, 2012  |  Updated 7:34 PM PDT
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The San Jose Fire Department responded to a three-alarm fire in the 1900 block of Conifer Lane Wednesday.

The San Jose Fire Department responded to a three-alarm fire in the 1900 block of Conifer Lane Wednesday.

One home was destroyed and another was damaged in a four-alarm fire in San Jose's Berryessa neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

One firefighter suffered minor burns and seven people have been displaced.

A neighbor reported the fire around 2:30 p.m. She saw the fire on Conifer Lane near Cropley Avenue and knocked on the door to alert the resident.

Firefighters had the blaze under control around 5:30 p.m.

San Jose fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said crews arrived to find thick smoke, and saw that flames had spread from the attic of a two-story house at 1948 Conifer Lane to the roof of an adjacent home.

More than 60 San Jose firefighters responded, along with 10 to 15 firefighters from Santa Clara and Milpitas.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was transported to a hospital, a dispatcher said. No other injuries were reported.

The home where the fire started was still smoldering at 4:15 p.m., but flames could no longer be seen. Gutierrez said that house was destroyed and about half of the contents of the second home were lost.One home was destroyed and another was damaged in a four-alarm fire on Conifer Lane near Cropley Avenue in San Jose, Calif., on May 30, 2012. One firefighter suffered minor burns and seven people have

Ginny Pearson, 72, who lives across the street, said a man was sleeping in the home and didn't realize his house was on fire until the neighbor woke him up.

She said a husband and wife, their two daughters, and another relative live at the home, along with two dogs.

Pearson said a couple lives at the second home that burned, and that the man usually comes home from work around 7 p.m. She said he might not yet know about the fire, and that neighbors have been unable to contact him.

Amanda Estantino, 21, who lives on a parallel street behind Conifer Lane, said she heard a "big pop" and saw smoke outside.

The fire burned across the street from the ABC Blocks Preschool and Day Care, which on a typical day serves about a dozen children between the ages of 2 and 5, preschool owner Cory Mollat said.

Mollat said the children lined up and followed their emergency protocol.

"We were so proud of our kids ... when we said 'fire,' they all did what they are supposed to do," Mollat said.

She said parents were notified of the fire and arrived quickly to pick up their children.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, and fire investigators do not yet have a monetary damage estimate.

Gutierrez said the fire is the latest in a string of emergencies the department responded to Wednesday.

At about 11:45 a.m., crews were dispatched to a one-alarm grass fire in a field across from the San Jose Fire Department's administration  building on Senter Road.

Early Wednesday morning, firefighters responded to a separate fire in a shed in Kelley Park, in the same general area as the grass fire, Gutierrez said.

Both fires remain under investigation.

In addition, at 10:10 a.m., the fire department was called to the scene of a crash in the 1700 block of Curtner Avenue, where a car had driven into a building and struck a gas meter, Gutierrez said.

"It's been a busy day," she said.

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