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Metal Stove Ignites Roof in Early Morning Blaze That Destroys Santa Barbara Home

Two-story home near Montecito Country Club sustains $700,000 in damages from fire that displaces residents

A fire started by a metal chimney stove pipe destroyed a Santa Barbara home early Monday morning.
A fire started by a metal chimney stove pipe destroyed a Santa Barbara home early Monday morning.  (Urban Hikers photo)

A hot, metal chimney stove pipe started the early Monday morning fire that sent two residents fleeing from their rented Summit Road home in Santa Barbara, which suffered more than $700,000 in damages.

Santa Barbara City Fire investigators released the cause of the fire Monday afternoon, saying heat from the chimney stove pipe ignited the original wooden materials of the roof that had since been covered with metal panels, according to Capt. Gary Pitney.

“Burn patterns show it traveled under the metal roof toward the front of the structure,” Pitney said.

Flames broke a front window, waking and alerting residents of the two-story home on the 800 block of Summit Road, off Alston Road above Montecito Country Club.

Firefighters who responded to the call at 12:22 a.m. found the house engulfed in flames, spending about a half-hour to get the fire under control, fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said.

Two residents escaped a house fire uninjured early Monday morning but the blaze caused $700,000 of damage to the home and $42,000 of damage to vehicles and the home’s contents. Click to view larger
Two residents escaped a house fire uninjured early Monday morning but the blaze caused $700,000 of damage to the home and $42,000 of damage to vehicles and the home’s contents.  (Urban Hikers photo)

The size of the blaze and the unusual A-frame style of the residence and its roof complicated matters, so first-responders called in significant backup, McCoy said.

Eight engines were on scene from Santa Barbara Fire and the Montecito and Santa Barbara County fire departments, squeezing onto the narrow street along with a SBFD ladder truck.

“The house has a tall metal roof with a steep pitch, and a long driveway,” McCoy told Noozhawk. “It posed a bigger challenge than expected.”

Firefighters had to peel back each metal roof panel to make sure there were no lingering flames underneath — a process that took until about 4 a.m., McCoy said.

One city firefighter sustained minor burn injuries to the back of his hands, where heat caused blisters, but Pitney said he was treated and released from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Pitney said the home sustained $700,000 in damages, with an additional $42,000 in damages to contents and vehicles.

A steep, metal roof hampered firefighters battling a residential structure fire early Monday on Summit Road. Click to view larger
A steep, metal roof hampered firefighters battling a residential structure fire early Monday on Summit Road. (Urban Hikers photo)

While the home did have working smoke detectors, Pitney said they didn’t initially go off because there wasn’t smoke inside the home.

“All the excitement was on the outside of the house,” he said.

The renters of the home, who were given housing assistance from the American Red Cross, had been using the fireplace more regularly because of colder days, Pitney said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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