Investigation underway in Concord townhome complex fire

Friday morning, an investigator from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District began work to determine the cause of a two-alarm blaze. The flames torched a unit in the three-story Willow Terrace Townhomes complex, which was under construction.

“The process of construction does involve a lot of different elements that can start fires. Obviously it happened at night, not during the day while construction were on site. But at this point in time, it’s too soon to say what started the fire,” said Capt. Tracie Dutter, of the Contra Costa Fire Protection Dist.  

Officials say the first floor of the only unit involved, had lots of construction material on the first floor, which served as fuel for the fire. Flames progressed up to the third floor, and then out the roof.

40 firefighters using ten pieces of firefighting equipment tapped out the blaze in about 25 minutes. Then all clear was given, but Concord police remained on-scene to protect and preserve evidence.

RELTAED: Flames race through Concord townhouse under construction

Officials say over the past two weeks there have been a dozen grass fires, and up to a half-dozen structure fires, including this one.

“Because it’s near the Fourth of July, we do have a number of fireworks going off illegally. We’ve had a number of grass fires throughout the county. But we’ve also had a number of structure fires. But we’re not seeing any connection between the fires,” said Capt. Joe Ottolini, of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection Dist.

In addition to the townhome, two vehicles on an adjoining property were damaged in the fire, but officials say there but there are no reported injuries.

Officials say investigators will check to see if there’s evidence of arson, and canvass the surrounding neighborhood for surveillance video and witnesses which could provide more clues as to the cause of the blaze.


“We have a robust investigation team that is very good at tracking the cause of fires, and helping us determine what caused them. And then helping us see if there’s a trend,” said Capt. Dutter.

Officials say only one unit in the five-unit construction site was burned in the fire.