PLEASANT HILL (CBS SF) -- Contra Costa County firefighters put out a two-alarm fire that burned down two homes in Pleasant Hill on Sunday evening.
The fire was reported shortly after 5 p.m. at one large two-story house before spreading to a second house on the court. One firefighter suffered minor injuries--a heavily twisted ankle--fighting the blaze, officials said.
Marc Croke, a neighbor to one of the homes, told KPIX 5 that he saw the smoke and turned around the corner to see the flames build.
"As I came through, the corner of this house was on fire, it looked like at the electrical service or the gas main, and just escalated extremely quick from the wind, picked up and took over this place," Croke said. He said the flames seemed to reach 15-20 feet at their height.
Croke said the car in the driveway of one of the homes exploded.
Renee Matsutani, who owns one of the homes that was burned, said she heard crackling and popping noises before the blaze started. "And by the time we went outside to the side of the house, it just was already engulfed in flames," she said.
She said her boyfriend quickly grabbed the garden hose, but the fire grew too intensely.
Both families were inside when the fire began. They got out safely, but only to watch their homes go up in flames.
"I lost my husband seven years ago. He died in this house. And we lived here for over 30 years…and now everything is gone. His pictures, all the memorabilia, everything is gone," Matsutani said tearfully.
Her family is still looking for their two cats, Gracie and Meekee, praying they were able to escape the fire. "We left the bedroom door and the front door open...so we're hoping that they got out okay," she said.
The fire was about a block south of the Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center historical site. Dozens of firefighters were still on the scene as of 7 p.m. trying to get the fire under control. PG&E was also on the scene attempting to shut off the gas main that was feeding the fire.
No other details were immediately available.
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