Family narrowly escapes houseboat fire


SHASTA LAKE, Calif. - A family barely escaped a houseboat on Shasta Lake Thursday, before it burst into flames.

Just before 9:30 p.m. last night, a Happy Valley family was playing board games, when they noticed smoke by their refrigerator.

Katherine Mondorf said she went to open a pantry next to it, where flames broke through.

Mondorf said they tried using a fire extinguisher, which had no effect.

The family and dogs escaped to the boats tied to the houseboat, while windows exploded behind them.

CAL FIRE said the fire spread to the shore, but United States Forest Service crews were able to put it out.

CAL FIRE Battalion Chief J.T. Zulliger said they don't often respond to houseboat fires, but there's always a risk.

"People are cooking, using propane, using barbecues on houseboats, so there are ways that fires can start on houseboats. People need to be very mindful of that and careful that they're thinking fire safety while they're out on the lake," Zulliger said.

He added they have two boats at Bridge Bay that are equipped to put out fires out on the lake.

The owner of the marina said the boat was total loss, worth $150,000.

While the cause is still being investigated, the owner said it may have been due to the propane refrigerators.

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