Idyllwild Fire and Riverside County Fire crews responded to a call of a structure fire at approximately 4 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11 at Saunders Meadow Rd. and Crestview Dr. in Idyllwild.
When firefighters arrived on scene, they quickly traced the fire to smouldering beams and insulation immediately below the fireplace.
They tore out the concrete base of the fireplace, some of the floor and a small hole in the exterior wall in the basement to reach the fire.
“Apparently this sort of thing sometimes goes on for a year before it gets noticed, so it was nothing we had done wrong. Just a freak thing,” the resident said, noting that a thick haze of smoke failed to set off both the fire and carbon monoxide alarms.
Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz said he checked the carbon monoxide alarm and confirmed it was in working order despite it being next to the front door.
“The only thing I can think of is that the alarm had just enough air ventilation that it didn’t go off,” Reitz said.
The scene was controlled and cleared within about two hours.
Jenny Kirchner contributed to this report.