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Livermore firefighters clean up and investigate the cause at the scene of a Monday night house fire on Palomino Road in Livermore, Calif. on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The late evening fire almost completely destroyed the home that was fully involved when firefighters arrived. A women resident was hospitalized. (Jim Stevens/Staff)

A Livermore house fire Monday night left one woman hospitalized and firefighters curious about why the blaze engulfed the building as quickly as it did.

The blaze was reported at a one-story, single-family home on Palomino Road near Arabian Road about 11:15 p.m., fire Battalion Chief Jeff Peters said.

When firefighters arrived a few minutes later, the house was "fully involved," Peters said. It took about 20 minutes to knock down the main fire, but crews discovered a gas source that had to be left burning for about three hours while PG&E dug up and sealed it off.

Had the flames been extinguished, Peters said, the gas could have filled the area and become more dangerous.

Peters stopped short of saying the fire was suspicious, but said it was unusual because of how quickly it burned the whole house and how hot it burned.

"They don't typically move that quickly. We've seen it before, but on a still night they don't usually do that, and there was not a drop of wind last night," he said.

Investigators could not immediately go into the scene to search for a source because of the intense heat, Peters said. They waited until after 8 a.m. for the scene to cool enough to safely inspect.

The house was home to a family of four -- a mother and father and their children, Peters said. The mother was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and minor burns, he added, though he said he did not yet know her condition.


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A neighboring home was damaged when the intense heat of the fire blew out a window, Peters said.

There was no immediate cost estimate of the fire damage.

Contact Sean Maher at 925-943-8013. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/OneSeanMaher.