Investigators say a teen party in Walnut Creek Friday night literally “burned down the house,” sparking a fire that gutted a home at 405 Arbol Via and prompting an intensive search for the perpetrators.
A fire department spokesperson put the damage estimate to the home at $750,000, and said that it had been vacant for several months but appeared to have been selected as a “party house” with more than 100 teens in attendance Friday night.
Neighbors contacting NEWS24-680 said “dozens, maybe hundreds” of teens were at the home and had to be dispersed by sheriff’s deputies at 9:10 p.m. Friday, prior to reports of fire breaking out at the residence at 12:31 a.m. Saturday morning. One reader, who asked not to be identified, said the residence had been the scene of several parties in recent months.
First responders reported “heavy fire” in the residence upon arrival, the fire proving difficult to access and to fight due to narrow streets and the home’s location. No firefighters were injured while extinguishing the blaze.
Dawn revealed significant damage to the residence, not far from John Muir Medical Center and a previous, apparently unrelated, blaze on La Casa Via which caused extensive damage to a 4,000 square-foot residence earlier in the week. The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, a ConFire spokesperson said.
Fire District officials say they are investigating the blaze as an arson fire and are asking for anyone with information about the party and resulting fire to contact them.