Updated: Lamp Switch Started House Fire

Dan McMenamin, BCN
Friday May 14, 2010 - 05:22:00 PM

A three-alarm fire that destroyed a home and damaged two others in North Berkeley on Thursday afternoon was apparently caused by a faulty lamp switch, an assistant fire chief said today. 

The blaze was reported at 12:02 p.m. at a home in the 500 block of San Luis Road, Assistant Fire Chief Sabina Imrie said. 

The fire was caused by a malfunction in the lamp switch, and the lamp was surrounded by papers that fueled the fire, Imrie said. 

The blaze caused at least $500,000 in structural damage to the home, rendering it uninhabitable. It also caused at least $100,000 in damage to two neighboring homes, according to Imrie. 

The owner of the home where the fire started was displaced, along with her sister and their dog. The dog was rescued from the home by a neighbor during the blaze, Imrie said.  

The residents in the two neighboring homes were able to return to their houses later Thursday after they were deemed safe and utility services were turned back on in the area, she said. 

No residents or firefighters were injured by the blaze.