Fire damages a second East Fork Fire captain's home

In an unprecedented twist of ironic misfortune, a second East Fork Fire captain's home was damaged by fire in less than a week.

The 1580 Toler Lane home of Capt. Jeffrey Costa was reported at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to have been struck by lightning.

It happened just days after a fire destroyed East Fork Fire Capt. Nick Agorastos' Dayton home Friday.

Deputy Fire Chief Bobby Wartgow said he has never seen a run of bad luck like this in his 23 years as a Carson Valley firefighter.

According to Wartgow, Costa's family members heard a strike close to the home, but didn't realize how close.

"They went about running their errands. and a short time later. a passerby called the fire in," Wartgow said. "We haven't confirmed it is lightning, but there is a rather tell-tale hole in the roof."

Costa was one of the first firefighters to respond to the fire.

"He got home and found the roof of his house was half involved," Wartgow said.

Engines from Gardnerville and East Fork Fire Station 14 were first on scene, according to East Fork Fire Capt. Scott Fraser.

"The attic and a portion of the roof were really burning," Fraser said, estimating that between one-third and a half of the home's attic was ablaze.

"The crews on the initial attack did a great job knocking down the fire," Fraser said.

He said the storm had moved south by the time they arrived, so firefighters didn't have to contend with lightning, winds or rain. Crews were on scene until after midnight.

"Attic fires are a challenge to get to," he said. "We go inside the home and pull portions of the ceiling down. There were some collapse issues, where the fire had burned through trusses making a fair portion of the roof unstable. We weren't able to put anybody in the garage."

Costa's parents and grandparents live nearby and are taking care of the family. East Fork firefighters turned out Wednesday morning to help the family salvage its belongings.

Costa's home was the only confirmed structure fire from the lightning storm, though there were other reports.

Firefighters from Fish Springs, the Gardnerville Ranchos, Sheridan and the Douglas County Engine Company responded to the fire.


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