3 youths blamed for starting fire that engulfed Martinez home, neighbors startled by fireball

A fireball explosion at a home in Martinez was captured in multiple videos Wednesday afternoon, destroying the residence and sending up thick, black smoke hundreds of feet into the air. Investigators say three minors playing with fire were the cause.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said Wednesday evening that the fire started in a backyard on Arthur Road. The current conditions led to the fire the youths were playing with to get out of hand. The juveniles were released to their parents. 

Several videos of the explosion show flashes of electrical wires arching inside the rising ball of fire and smoke.

Crews responded to the large fire, which was burning on the 4000 block of Arthur Road. When they arrived, they found one home fully engulfed. Officials said that fast work spared other homes from destruction. However, vehicles and other equipment were destroyed. 

The incident was first reported at 2:01 p.m. Around 4:30 p.m., the blaze was declared under control.

Contra Costa Fire Battalion Chief Vito Impastato said the sparking seen from electrical lines occurred when smoke interacted with the electricity around the power lines, causing repeated combustible booms. Impastato also said there were multiple propane tanks inside the home as well.

KTVU has learned that the resident is a former mechanic and had several vehicles around the property.

The Contra Costa Fire Protection District said the fire was contained to one home and a surrounding property. Neighboring homes were protected, fire officials said.

"Swift & overwhelming response resulted in at least a dozen homes surrounding Cambark Ct. fire in Martinez being protected from damage this afternoon," officials tweeted.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire, the fire district said. However, three residents have been displaced.