Unattended lamps were responsible for igniting two house fires in Turlock over the last week.
In the first incident, an overturned lamp set a pile of blankets ablaze and caused extensive smoke damage to a Turlock home. In the second incident, a towel left over a lamp ignited and started a small fire.
The first fire was reported around 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 1951 Trail Way in Turlock.
The house was empty when the fire first started to smolder and went unnoticed until the homeowner came home. The homeowner told the Turlock Fire Department she first noticed the smell of smoke when she arrived home and parked in the attached garage. She followed the smell upstairs, until she was forced to turn around and vacate the home because of the heavy acrid smoke.
The homeowner called 911 and the first fire engines arrived quickly thereafter. Firefighters found a pile of blankets on fire in a corner of an upstairs bedroom. The firefighters were able to remove the blankets and extinguish the flames within five minutes of arrival at the scene.
Firefighters remained on scene for some time to ventilate the smoke from the home.
The fire was tracked to a lamp with an incandescent light bulb that was turned on and fell on top of the blankets. The hot light bulb melted into the blankets and eventually ignited, according to the fire department.
The damage from the fire was estimated at $1,200, according to the fire department. A total of 10 fire personnel and three engines responded to the fire.
No one was injured and the homeowner was able to stay at the house.
The fire department said the fire was on the verge of becoming a much larger blaze and it was fortunate the homeowner arrived home when she did.
The second fire was reported at 10:06 p.m. Monday at a home at 545 S. Minaret Avenue. The family was at home when they started smelling and seeing smoke. They checked the air conditioning unit and the oven, but found no sign of smoke. The smoke alarm started ringing and the homeowners called 911 and vacated the home.
The first fire fighters to arrive found a small fire burning in a back bedroom. The fire was put out quickly with a water canister and the burnt objects were removed from the home.
The cause of the fire was traced back to a table lamp with an incandescent light bulb. Someone threw a towel over the lamp while changing and then inadvertently left it over the lamp, which was left on. The towel melted on the hot light bulb and eventually caught fire.
The damage was estimated at $100 by the fire department. A total of 13 fire personnel responded to the fire. It was brought under control in five minutes.
The fire department reminds residents to use caution with lamps and appliances and make sure they are turned off or unplugged when not in use, and consider the amount of combustibles in the area.