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Laguna Niguel Neighbors Help Get Boy, Grandfather Out of Burning House

The fire was caused by an unattended candle.

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Getty Images

Updated: 10 p.m. June 12, 2014 with the cause of the fire.

A 3-year-old boy being watched by his Ukrainian-speaking grandfather suffered smoke inhalation Thursday in a fire that heavily damaged the family's Laguna Niguel home.

The fire was ignited by a unattended candle burning in the master bedroom's bathroom, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

"The investigators spend multiple hours investigating the fire and the most probable cause was an unattended candle and that area sustained the most significant damage," Concialdi said.

The fire wrought $350,000 worth of damage to the structure and $100,000 to its contents, Concialdi said.

The blaze broke out in the upstairs master suite of the two-story structure in the 28800 block of Via de Luna about 12:35 p.m. and, thanks to neighbors, the boy and his grandfather got out in time, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

A next-door neighbor pounded on the door soon after the fire broke out, while another neighbor who smelled smoke called 911, he said. When the front door opened, the grandfather had the boy in his arms.

"It's a real tight-knit neighborhood," Concialdi said.

Firefighters "saved most of the house," he said.

The boy was taken to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center for what Concialdi called minor smoke inhalation.

A translator called to the scene notified the boy's parents and two other children — who were about an hour away — about the fire and that the boy and grandfather were safe, Concialdi said.

As soon as the grandfather noticed the fire, which started in the master bedroom or bathroom, he shut the door to the suite, which Concialdi said helped save the rest of the house, estimated to be about 3,000 square feet.

A team of about 40 firefighters dispatched had the blaze under control by 12:57 p.m., he said.

Though the fire burned into the attic and through the roof over the bedroom, firefighters were able to keep the fire's spread in check, in part by cutting vent holes in the roof, according to Concialdi.

Firefighters also threw "salvage covers" — heavy waterproof canvas — over valuables and furniture in the other upstairs bedrooms to protect them from smoke and water damage, he said.

No damage estimate was immediately available, but Concialdi called it "extensive."

— City News Service

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