A fire that broke out at a large residence in Newport Beach late Wednesday afternoon caused such extensive damage to the house that it will be red-tagged as uninhabitable, officials said.
The fire at 2 Rue Villars, a quiet cul de sac that overlooks the Big Canyon Country Club, was designated a one-alarm fire, and seven units arrived at the scene just after 4 p.m.
Newport Beach Fire Department spokeswoman Natalie May said firefighters initially responded offensively to the fire but had to switch to a defensive battle as the roof began to sag and then partially collapsed.
Crews deployed an aerial water tower and exterior handlines were used on the sides of the home. No injuries were reported.
The fire was mostly extinguished before 6 p.m. Wednesday, though crews planned to remain on-site to monitor the situation, according to May.
Deborah McWilliams, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, said she was at home when the blaze erupted.
“I went to open up a window in front of our house and smelled smoke so immediately went outside,” she said. “There was heavy black smoke. Fire engines had been called ... We got everybody evacuated from the adjacent homes on the street and then we evacuated the animals.
“The house was ablaze. The owners did arrive, but they were not at home [at the time the fire broke out]. The house is probably a total loss,” she said.
McWilliams characterized her neighborhood as close-knit. “Most of us are original homeowners or second-generation homeowners. We know everyone on the street. Everybody just made sure everybody was OK. We just gathered together, so it was all good.”
The fire’s cause and place of origin are under investigation.
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Lilly Nguyen covers Newport Beach for the Daily Pilot. Before joining the Pilot, she worked for the Orange County Register as a freelance reporter and general assignment intern. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism at Cal State Long Beach. (714) 966-4623.
Sara Cardine covers the city of Costa Mesa for the Daily Pilot. She comes from the La Cañada Valley Sun, where she spent six years as the news reporter covering La Cañada Flintridge and recently received a first-place Public Service Journalism award from the California News Publishers Assn. She’s also worked at the Pasadena Weekly, Stockton Record and Lodi-News Sentinel, which instilled in her a love for community news. (714) 966-4627
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