A Vallecito home was gutted by a fire Wednesday in which the residents narrowly escaped injury.
The wooden home at 57 Vallecito Drive, just below Vallecito Dam, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
The fire was reported at 9:11 a.m. The owner, Peggy Doyel, and her adult son had returned from Tucson, Ariz., about 1 a.m., and they didn't awaken until a neighbor pounded on the door.
They escaped unharmed.
"That was about as close as it can get," said Chief Rich Graeber of the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District.
Graeber praised bystanders for helping.
"If it were not for the involvement of people passing by we could have had a serious injury or a fatality," he said.
Traffic on County Road 501 was diverted through Vallecito Resort as volunteers directed vehicles.
"Everybody stepped up," Graeber said.
Joel Aguilar, a local handyman, was driving by on his way to a job when he saw the fire and called 911.
"Within five minutes the whole thing was burned up," he said. "It was amazing how quick it went up."
Intense heat melted the bumper of a car parked at the house, Aguilar said.
The fire is believed to have started on or near the home's front porch, Graeber said. It is being investigated as an accidental blaze.
An unrelated fire caused minor damage at a home at 12100 County Road 501 on Monday night, about a mile from Wednesday's fire. The earlier fire is being investigated as a possible arson, Graeber said.