SAN JOSE -- One house was destroyed and three damaged in two separate fires in a residential neighborhood in East San Jose Thursday evening.
The first blaze, reported to firefighters at 5:31 p.m., struck a home on the 3500 block of Sydney Drive near Piedmont Road, according to San Jose fire Capt. Cleo Doss. Firefighters were able to see smoke billowing from the house from their station, located about a mile away, he said. By the time they arrived on the scene at 5:37 p.m., flames were coming out of every opening in the house.
Informed by the resident that no one was inside, firefighters worked to prevent it from spreading to nearby homes, Doss said.
"We were on the defensive on that fire," he said. "There was heavy fire throughout the house."
Four dozen firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze, which they finally got under control about 7:40 p.m, but not before it had destroyed the house, Doss said. The houses located to the right and left of the burned house suffered minor heat damage, but were otherwise unaffected, he said.
No one was injured in the blaze, which firefighters believe was caused by an outdoor propane tank that was either overpressurized or overheated.
While fire crews battled that fire, another blaze was reported two blocks away, near the intersection of Lisbon Drive and Piedmont. Doss, along with some firefighters who were battling the first blaze, went to confront the second one.
That fire started in some trees in the backyard of a house. But embers from the blaze blew across the house and damaged a trellis attached to the home.
Firefighters quickly gained control of that fire. Reported to firefighters at 6:28 p.m., it was under control by 6:35 p.m., Doss said.
That fire was under investigation and deemed suspicious, he said. He didn't know if it was started by fireworks.
Two neighbors residents suffered from smoke inhalation, said Doss, who didn't know if they were taken to the hospital for treatment.
With hot weather and Fourth of July fireworks offering a dangerously combustible combination, area firefighters have been on high alert.
Contact Troy Wolverton at 408-840-4285. Follow him at Twitter.com/troywolv.