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Terra Bella family loses home in fire
A family of six was displaced after a fire destroyed its Terra Bella home Tuesday night.
According to the Tulare County Fire Department, crews responded just after 8 p.m. to reports of a two-story home on fire at 23651 Avenue 104.
When firefighters arrived, they found the 3,000-square-foot home had flames coming through the roof and was threatening a neighboring four-car garage with a boat inside, the TCFD reports.
Battalion Chief Claudia Whitendale said that the TCFD had three water tenders on scene and firefighters managed to extinguish the fire at approximately 10 p.m.
There were no injuries sustained and there was no significant damage to the garage or the boat, however, the home was a total loss.
Investigators were on scene early Wednesday morning, as were the property owner and his wife.
“I was at a friend’s house when my son called me and said he thought somebody was burning brush, but it turned out the house was ablaze,” homeowner Frank Lambarena said.
Lambarena, who had lived in the home for nearly 12 years and was living there with his wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren, ages 3 and 4, said they were forced to move in with relatives.
His brother, Nestor Lambarena, said the home had recently been furnished with new appliances for Christmas.
“We worked so hard to buy this place, we gave up a lot of necessities,” Lambarena’s wife said as she watched what remained of her home Wednesday. “Eleven years and now look at it.”
Capt. Kevin Riggi, who investigated the fire, said that although the structure was a complete loss, firefighters were able to save some contents, including most of the children’s clothes.
“The daughters were significantly happy they were able to salvage the children’s clothes,” Riggi said.
The fire was ruled unintentional, but investigators did not determine a cause.
“There were lots of possibilities, and investigators did not narrow it down to one,” Whitendale said. “It could have been electrical, we’re not sure, but it wasn’t intentional.”
The family was offered assistance from the American Red Cross and was also offered a place to stay by neighbors.
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, ext. 1047 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.