Match May Have Caused Home Fire

Gilroy Fire Department paramedic/firefighter Robert Silvia helps

Damages estimated at $8,000
Gilroy – The bedroom window smashed, the ceiling gutted to prevent fire from creeping into the attic – Fred Wood returned to his Santa Theresa Drive home Wednesday morning to begin cleaning the mess caused by a fire in his daughter’s first floor bedroom.

The bedroom of 7640 Santa Theresa Drive went up in flames Tuesday night after the 44-year-old woman lost the head of a match while lighting a cigarette, fire officials said.

A singed, queen-sized mattress lay off-centered on the bed frame – half just bare metal. Pink flower patterned sheets lay blackened on the floor. The entire house smelled of smoke. Foam used to combat the flames decorated the bedroom and front hall of the home Wood has lived in for the past 45 years.

“We were lucky we caught it when we did,” he said.

The woman searched the room and believed the head was extinguished.

“All of a sudden she saw a fire,” Fred Wood said. “It spread pretty fast.”

According to Wood, he and his daughter used the one fire extinguisher they had, but it wasn’t enough.

The call came in to the Gilroy Fire Department at 9:21pm. Firefighters arrived on scene five minutes later and saw light smoke coming from the home.

“It was real close to becoming a second alarm,” said Division Chief Phil King. “The response time was the key … It was just getting to the size where it was about to take off.”

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the one bedroom.

“An extra response time of two minutes would have been a structure fire,” King said.

While the cause is still under investigation, fire officials believe the lost match head smoldered and ignited the carpet in between the bed and nightstand in the room.

Damages are estimated to be about $8,000.

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