An attic fire caused major damage to a single-family home on the 1700 block of Gillespie Street in Santa Barbara early Sunday.
Remodeling work, not fireworks, sparked an attic fire that caused major damage to a single-family home on the 1700 block of Gillespie Street in Santa Barbara on July 2 Credit: Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo

Remodeling work — not fireworks — sparked an early morning fire that significantly damaged a home on Santa Barbara’s Westside two days before the Fourth of July, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Firefighters responded just past midnight on July 2 to the fire in a single-family residence on the 1700 block of Gillespie Street, between West Islay and West Valerio streets.

Upon arrival, they found the upper part of the structure engulfed in flames.

Several Westside residents speculated that the blaze was caused by a pop-bottle rocket or similar firework, which were prolific in the neighborhood in the run-up to Independence Day.

But Ryan Di Guillio, city fire marshal, told Noozhawk that was not the case.

“The cause of the fire was not related to fireworks,” DiGuillio said. “It was accidental in nature, and had unfortunately been smoldering in the concealed attic space for some time before we, or anybody else…was aware of the fire.”

The home was being remodeled, DiGuillio said, “and work performed earlier that day led to sparks or an ignition source from the operation ending up in a concealed space in the attic.”

Firefighters entered the home and found only light smoke inside, and quickly determined they were dealing with an attic fire.

It took about 90 minutes to fully control the blaze.

One resident was at home and sleeping when the fire broke out, but he was able to leave the house without injury.