House fire in Berkeley hills caused by portable heater

Fire now

The fire at 1177 Keith Ave. in the Berkeley hills caused an estimated $800,000 worth of damage. Photo: K. Lawson

The fire today that saw two stories of a Berkeley hills home extensively damaged, and a huge plume of black smoke visible for miles, was caused by a portable heater setting alight a bed mattress, according to the Berkeley Fire Department.

Interim Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said a mattress caught fire in a dormer room at the top of the house and the blaze spread to the second story below.

Webb estimated the damage to the home was valued at $800,000.

Nobody was at home at 1177 Keith Ave. when the fire started, according to Webb.

A neighbor called the home’s owner, believed to be Heidi Tarver, to alert her to the fact that the home was ablaze. The Berkeley Fire Department received a first call at 11:47 a.m. The fire was fully extinguished by about 2:00 p.m.

Firefighters respond to house fire in Berkeley hills [02.06.13]

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  • NoName

    Can you find out what type of portable heater – electric?

  • iicisco

    Who really cares about what type. A heater is still a heater. The moral is keep ALL flammable materials, such as bedding, drapes, clothes, paper etc at least 3 feat away from the source.

  • Guest

    It also doesn’t hurt to turn them off when you leave the house. Or the room, even — otherwise, it’s too easy to forget they’re on.

  • Mbfarrel

    Good luck with morals. It is of interest – if it were an oil filled electric heater that caused the fire rather than a radiant heater this would be quite significant. In an imperfect world ignorance is not bliss.