Investigators are probing the cause of a recent four-alarm fire that damaged seven properties in a Hillsborough neighborhood of million dollar homes.

Damage will probably reach $1 million, Central County fire Chief Mark Ladas said Saturday.

No one was injured, but for a stroke of luck, the fire's toll could have been much worse.

A fire crew returning Friday evening on the Junipero Serra Freeway from a wildland fire training exercise noticed smoke coming from Black Mountain Road.

They investigated and found five people inside a house in the 1800 block of Black Mountain Road, unaware that their roof had begun to burn, Chief Ladas said.

The blaze severely damaged that home and destroyed its pool house. Windblown embers ignited the roofs of three others on nearby Darrell Road. Three other homes lost fences, sheds and a boat before it was contained.

Chief Ladas said the fire appears to have started in a pile of leaves near a fence.

"We're not sure what the ignition was. We can't find any heat source there," he said. But leaves and mulch, dried out in the recent heat wave, may have ignited.

The homes that burned had shake roofs, Ladas noted. A home next to the one where the fire started had a new composite roof and only lost a boat and shed.

There were 33 pieces of equipment and about 106 firefighters from seven fire departments dispatched to the blaze.


Advertisement

Contact Pete Carey at 408-920-5419 Follow him on Twitter.com/petecarey.