The has been ruled an accidental fire, told Patch Thursday.
“The night of the event I spoke to the owner and she was devastated by what had occurred,” said Frawley, who noted that firefighters were able to retrieve cash and a few personal items of the owner’s but everything else was a loss.
Faulty electrical wiring under a desk caused the fire though investigators couldn’t pinpoint whether it originated from an extension cord or power strip.
“You’ve got wires that either have been mechanically damaged, like cut or bent or squished, or you have some sort of a physical failure within a power strip,” said Frawley. "There's sparking that occurs within because of the electrical wiring ... and if it goes for a period of time it can set the material around it on fire."
The Masters Realty fire was reported at 1:11 a.m. but had been burning for several hours before that, said Frawley, since electrical fires can start small and burn for a long time.
Eventually the fire inside Masters Realty got so hot and pressurized that it broke out the front windows of the business, which only added oxygen to fuel the flames, so the building was well engulfed when fire officials arrived and it took several fire departments almost three hours to extinguish the fire.
“I did hear comments from police officers that were patrolling the area that they had smelled smoke and they were trying to find the source of the smoke and they’d smelled it for several hours but they couldn’t find it,” said Frawley.
The Masters Realty fire is the first fire of the year and on average San Marino usually has only one to two fires per year.
Faulty wiring is a common cause of accidental fires, said Frawley.
Masters Realty Forging Ahead
As for the business of Masters Realty, the owner has already applied for and received a license to operate her business in a vacant space on Huntington Drive across the street from the former space, according to Frawley.
“She was in the middle of some transactions on some real estate and she doesn’t want the fire to negatively affect any of her business,” said Frawley.
The owner of the burned down building itself is actively pursuing rebuilding in the space.
Check back on Patch for tips on how to help prevent a fire in your workplace or business.
Did you see the Masters Realty fire? Does this incident affect how you will make your home or business fire-safe?