Cleanup underway in Visalia after fire destroys home

FRESNO, Calif.

Marie Bergeron talked with Visalia firefighters the morning after her home was destroyed by a fast-moving fire. Bergeron was home with her son-in-law and 19-month old grandson, Christian, when the fire broke out.

Video taken by neighbors show Bergeron's house completely engulfed in flames. Bergeron, a local dentist, says little Christian was sleeping in the room next to where a fire was going in a fireplace. Then, her son-in-law heard a loud noise.

Bergeron said, "He just raced up and immediately started yelling and he just yelled at me to get out of the house it was on fire."

Marie, her son-in-law, her 19-month old grandson and their two dogs ran out of the house, escaping injury. Within minutes, her 37-hundred square foot home was fully engulfed.

Bergeron said, "It's just a miracle because that baby was right next to that, and the fire was literally I mean you're watching your whole house, it's quite an experience."

Luckily, Marie Bergeron's seven other family members who were staying with her at the time -- were all at the movies. Bergeron still isn't sure if she'll rebuild the house but says she is thankful that all of her loved ones are okay.

Wednesday morning, fire investigators examined the home for a possible cause, zeroing in on the upstairs fireplace, where Bergeron's son-in-law saw the fire.

Capt. Doyle Sewell said, "We're pretty confident that the fire is associated with the second floor fireplace. We're not quite sure if it's a malfunction of the fireplace or if there was some creosote buildup."

32 firefighters responded to put out the fire. Crews said it took a huge effort to make sure the fire didn't spread to nearby houses. All morning neighbors came by to take a look at the house, which is located in a prominent Visalia neighborhood just south of the Visalia Country Club. Many who saw the flames said the house was engulfed quickly.

Neighbor, Dan Coleman said, "I laid down on the sofa and saw this huge orange plume just shooting straight into the air from my backyard."

Bergeron said, "I don't think there's anything in there that I'm going to recover."

Firefighters are estimating the loss of the house including the contents inside -- at $750 thousand.

Marie Bergeron is a dentist in Visalia. We're told she showed up to treat patients Wednesday morning despite going through this terrible loss.

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