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Space Heater Likely Cause of Rodeo House Fire

A 59-year-old man was apparently locked out of his single-story home in the 700 block of San Pablo Avenue after he went outside to look for his dog.

A space heater appears to have been the source of a fire that badly damaged a house in Rodeo and left the homeowner displaced Thursday night.

A short time after 10 p.m., a 59-year-old man was apparently locked out of his single-story home in the 700 block of San Pablo Avenue after he went outside to look for his dog, according to Pinole fire officials.

The man told fire investigators that he was able to see a fire start from a space heater in the home's front room, which spread quickly to a sofa and adjoining room, fire officials said.

Neighbors called 911 and fire crews arrived on the scene a short time later to find the house partially engulfed in smoke and flames, which were headed toward a neighboring apartment building.

Firefighters used multiple hose lines to attack the blaze and were able to control it in roughly 30 minutes, according to Pinole fire Battalion Chief Brian Lowry.

The American Red Cross was called to provide housing assistance for the displaced homeowner. No injuries were reported. The blaze caused an estimated $200,000 in damage, according to Lowry.

The battalion chief said the fire serves as a reminder to exercise caution when using a space heater. Space heaters should be turned off if left unaccompanied or if the person using them plans to go to sleep, and should be kept at least 3 feet away from combustible materials, fire officials said.

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