Orange County News

Resident of ruined OC beachfront home speaks about fire

Friday, May 13, 2011
A man who lived in the fire-wrecked beachfront home on Sunset Beach is speaking out about the incident. One home collapsed in a fire involving three beachfront homes in Sunset Beach on Thursday, May 12, 2011.

A man who lived in the fire-wrecked beachfront home on Sunset Beach is speaking out about the incident.

Mark Atcheson rented a room in the house that was reduced to rubble. He learned about the fire when he came home Thursday night.

"Where do I begin? This is all I have - what I have on. It's really humbling to feel like this," said Atcheson. "I think the toughest part is losing the pcitures. It's a small place, but everything I had was what I treasured in that house. I didn't have much, but it was what I had."

Fire crews were still on scene Friday morning mopping up hot spots.

The fire broke out just before 5 p.m. Thursday. Flames raced through the multimillion-dollar home and quickly spread to adjacent homes. As the blaze grew more intense, concerns about structural instability forced fire crews to keep their distance.

The first house eventually collapsed, but fortunately, no one was inside at the time. The ruined home was up for sale with a hefty price tag of $6.2 million. Two adjacent homes were also damaged in the blaze.

Residents of one home returned Friday to salvage their belongings.

"I always imagined that we would have an earthquake or a tsunami, but never a fire. So, it's kind of one of those things you don't actually prepare for, but everyone was safe and everyone got out and to me, that's what's important," said resident Amy Lipelas.

More than 100 firefighters battled for hours to contain the flames, pouring thousands of gallons of water onto the homes.

Investigators believe the fire started when strong winds blew over a charcoal grill, and then spread the flames onto the houses next door.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries when he slipped and fell on the roof and another person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

The total damage from the fire is estimated at approximately $10 million.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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fire, beach, orange county news, amy powell
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