UPDATE: Video of Flames, Photos of Garages, Cars Destroyed in San Anselmo Fire

Resident jumped over a fence to alert a tenant of her flaming building during a Wednesday night fire that caused an estimated $250,000 in damage. Fire officials said people reported seeing the high flames from miles away.


Peter Roscoe didn’t think twice before he jumped over a fence to alert an in-law unit tenant that an adjacent garage was fully engulfed in flames.

He knew someone was sleeping in the unit, located at the back of his mother’s Entrata Avenue property, and he had to get her out.

“I didn’t have a choice,” he said.

The Wednesday night San Anselmo fire destroyed three garages and four vehicles, causing an estimated $250,000 in damage. Fortunately, as the homeowners at 35 and 25 Entrata told Patch, no one was hurt in the blaze that was reportedly seen miles away. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


‘Orange glow coming from the windows’

Roscoe arrived home Wednesday night to 35 Entrata Avenue around 9:45 p.m., parking his van at the back of the house in a parking area near two garages, a car port and an in-law unit, he told Patch.

He went into the house and checked-in with his mother, longtime homeowner Nancy Roscoe, to see if she wanted anything to eat. He had just heated up some food in the microwave and sat down when the lights flickered. “I heard a crackling noise,” he said.

He walked to the rear of the home and saw an orange glow coming from the windows. “I pulled back the curtains and saw gigantic flames. The garage was engulfed.”

Roscoe ran into the backyard, yelling to his mother that there’s a fire. Huge flames were coming from the garage attached to the in-law unit where a woman was sleeping inside, he said. 

The front gate to the unit was too close to the flames, so Roscoe ran around to the edge of the property and jumped over a side fence into the unit’s yard and banged on the door to wake up the tenant.

“I knew she was in there,” he said.

Once the tenant was rescued, Roscoe began calling 911, only to find that the lines were tied up.

The fire was first reported at 10:46 p.m., according to fire officials, and was reported from as far away as Red Hill.

The fire spread to an adjacent garage on the Roscoe property and a garage on the neighboring property, at 25 Entrata Avenue.

The heat of the blaze caught a Toyota Tacoma truck caught on fire, melted a rear corner of a Ford Taurus and singed leaves of plants more than 60 feet away.

Seven fire units responded to the fire, which was under control by 11:30 p.m. The narrow road limited crew access and created some challenges, fire officials reported.

Estimated damage for the fire is $250,000. Three garages and three vehicles were destroyed, while the in-law unit had major damage and another vehicle was damaged.


‘He singed his arm’

Mary Lou Murphy, who lives at 25 Entrata Avenue with her husband, said she heard some strange noises right before she was about to go to sleep Wednesday night. “I got up and went out into the hall, looked at the window and saw the garage totally enflamed,” Murphy said.

The fire had already spread to the garage on their property when Murphy’s husband ran into the garage and moved their SUV from the burning building, she said. “He singed his arm." 

Their other vehicle, a brand new Toyota Tacoma truck, was parked outside the garage and was completely destroyed. “That car didn’t have 7,000 miles on it,” she said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Murphy, an avid gardener who has carefully landscaped not only her property but also a succulent garden on public land along Entrata Avenue, pointed out precious succulents and other plants that were burned to a crisp. A tall palm tree she had grown since it was a seed, rare succulent plants, and some of her thoughtfully placed “junk art,” as she fondly referred to it, were all ruined.


Hundreds of tapes, CDs, destroyed

After fire crews finished investigating the fire scene Wednesday afternoon, Roscoe walked through the charred remains of one of the destroyed garages. Inside the two-car garage were a burnt 1989 Volvo and remnants of hundreds of Roscoe’s carefully-archived Grateful Dead tapes.

Other belongings noticeable in the rubble include blue tiles from Sausalito and some of Roscoe’s 200 CDs.

Roscoe, visibly shaken by the incident, remained optimistic.

“You got to laugh at this stuff,” he said.



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