LAFAYETTE -- An elderly woman escaped with minor breathing difficulties after a one-alarm fire broke out in a single-story house, a fire official said.

Fire crews knocked down the fire within 10 minutes after being called to the 3300 block of Sweet Drive at 8:58 a.m., Battalion Chief Ben Smith of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said.

The fire appears to have sparked in a wall socket near a space heater, but the heater remained intact, Smith said.

The woman escaped the home before fire crews arrived and was treated for "very minor smoke inhalation," Smith said. Fire crews saw smoke coming from the chimney and opened the front door to a blanket of black smoke but no flames, Smith said. A living area near the front-door entrance was damaged by the fire and the entire house incurred smoke damage. Smith estimated the damage to be about $50,000.

An ambulance was called for the woman, but she refused a trip to the hospital and was being taken care of by neighbors. The house did appear to be reparable, Smith said.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.