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Fire destroys house

Family thankful that they were not hurt
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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One Third Street family is without a home after flames consumed it Sunday. No one was hurt in the fire, according to Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt. “I’m happy because my family is safe,” homeowner Juan Huerta said Sunday. Huerto, his wife and three children have lived at the house on Third Street near Joiner Street for 11 years. While the two-story structure still stands, Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt described the house as “a complete loss.” As of Tuesday, Whitt said, the damage from the fire is estimated to be $200,000, which includes damage to the house itself and a neighboring house. The fire was noticed at 12:05 p.m. Sunday, when Lincoln firefighters noticed the smoke while they returned to the station from a medical-aid call. “It was us that noticed it. It wasn’t a 9-1-1 call first,” Whitt said as crews battled the fire. “We think the fire started in the back of the house and it went into the front of the house. We don’t know if it started inside or outside.” Whitt said that the cause of the fire is undetermined. “We are still reviewing all of the information. It will take another week,” Whitt said. When The News Messenger arrived on scene at 12:26 p.m., the house was smoldering and the front windows were busted out with their screens singed. At about 12:50 p.m., flames erupted from an upstairs window but were quickly doused. After that, fire crews removed contents of the house, which were placed on the front lawn. More than 50 residents from the area watched as seven fire engines and trucks from Lincoln, Roseville, Rocklin and Placer County Fire pulled up to the house. The Lincoln Police Department helped by blocking off vehicle traffic on Third Street from R Street to Joiner Parkway. While fire crews from all four agencies worked to put out the fire, neighbors described what they saw and heard that day. “We came home and saw black smoke and could see flames shooting out the back, coming over the top of the house,” Mary Laroche said. “They (firefighters) got here and put it out. It was really fast.” Laroche described the residents as “such a nice family.” “This is going to devastate them,” Laroche said. Victor Gonzales said he heard about the fire on his scanner. “They were calling for Rocklin and everyone else for help. When I got here, I saw the flames and smoke,” Gonzales said. “I hope the best for the family.” The home is owned by Juan and Fabiola Huerta, who have three children: Karla, 15, Gisselle, 13, and Luis, 9. The family was leaving for church before the fire happened, Gisselle said, and she ”ran back inside to get something. “I went inside to get my sweater and saw fire all over,” Gisselle said. “I’m just scared right now.” Karla expressed gratitude while firefighters were still working to put the fire out. “No one was hurt. My family is safe. That is my only priority,” Karla said. “The house can be replaced.” Juan Huerta told The News Messenger on Monday that he did not know how much of the damage his homeowner’s insurance would cover. Juan Huerta said his family is looking for “any help the community can give. “We need blankets and clothes,” he said. Those interested in helping the Huerta family can call Juan Huerta at 213-5661.