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Happy Valley home destroyed by fire

By Shay Arthur
Published On: Sep 23 2013 10:54:13 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 24 2013 01:32:22 AM CDT
HAPPY VALLEY, Calif. -

A home in Happy Valley is a complete loss after a blaze ripped through it late last night. 

Happy Valley Fire District's Chief Joe Vasquez said one woman lives in the home on the 5700 block of Olive Street.

The woman was not home when the fire started around 10:30 p.m. but firefighters said the situation could've been much worse. 

Elizabeth Betancourt watched the fire from her driveway Sunday night and described the scene. 

"Just flames and lots and lots of red and white lights spinning around," Betancourt said.

Chief Vasquez said that by the time his crews arrived much of the house was already destroyed.

"The roof had already collapsed on half of it," Vasquez said.

As the fire consumed the home, Vasquez said he was worried about the elderly homeowner because no one knew where she was and feared she could be in the home.

But as it turns out the elderly woman had sprained her ankle earlier in the day and had decided to go to the hospital.

She arrived home to find the chaotic scene.

"She was very upset and crying about her house. I said you're not in there, that's all that matters to us," said Vasquez. 

Vasquez said the sprain could be a blessing in disguise.

"She might've been in the house if that hadn't happened," Vasquez said.

On Monday fire investigators were out surveying the damage.

Vasquez said it's still early in the investigation but they believe the fire started in the living room and dining room area.

For those living nearby fire is an element they are becoming all too familiar with.

Betancourt said she's thankful her neighbor is okay and said things could've been much worse for the neighborhood.

"I'm really grateful, especially with just surviving the Clover Fire. I'm just glad it wasn't bigger," Betancourt said.

Vasquez said the homeowner is staying with her daughter in Yuba City.

He also said the rain over the weekend helped stop the fire from spreading because the vegetation around the home was still moist.