A fiercely hot fire destroyed a large house in a San Francisco neighborhood full of million dollar homes.
Fire crews were on the scene Thursday night, checking on hotspots and making sure there were no flare ups after a fire burned a Monterey Heights home and scorched the wall of an adjacent home.
The fire broke out around 7 p.m. on Fernwood Drive in a neighborhood near St. Francis Wood.
Neighbors said their dinner was interrupted by the smell of fire.
They initially thought it was someone's fireplace until they looked outside.
"This house was on fire like I've never seen before," said Jay Blakesberg. "It was the most frightening thing I've ever seen. It was unbelievable how bright and hot it was. I can feel the intense heat on my face. It was out of control."
Fire crews said when they arrived the home was fully engulfed.
The assistant fire chief said the house was unoccupied and was under renovation, making it unsafe for crews to enter.
"Some of the roof had already caved in, so to protect our members... We had to fight this fire from the outside," said David Franklin, assistant fire chief.
Neighbors said the home has been unoccupied for years after the elderly woman who owned it died. It was eventually sold to a contractor who didn't do any work on it until about two to three weeks ago.
The assistant fire chief said the owner and construction crew were on scene when fire crews arrived.
Neighbors said they suspect roof work caused the fire.
"These last few days they were putting on rolled roofing on the roof and they were using a big butane canister torch gun, so my guess is that's what started it," said neighbor Pat Durnal.
Firefighters said the couple who live in the neighboring home will not be displaced.
One firefighter suffered dehydration and exhaustion and was taken to the hospital for observation.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.