No one was hurt in a house fire Monday night just north of Merced, the Cal Fire/Merced County Fire Department reported.
A mother and her two children were inside the home in the 2500 block of Sea Breeze Court when they were alerted by a fire alarm, according to Capt. Jeremy Rahn. The trio escaped unharmed from the two-story home.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at 11:47 p.m.
Rahn said the fire started in the laundry area inside the home's garage. Firefighters contained the blaze within an hour, and brought it under control by 3 a.m.
Firefighters believe an electrical malfunction caused the fire, Rahn said.
The blaze did significant damage to the first floor of the building, he said, and caused smoke damage to the second floor.
Rahn said firefighters estimated damage to the building to be about $100,000. The building is valued around $400,000.
The occupants of the home are being housed with family members.
Rahn said smoke detectors played a significant role in the family's escape. He said the case highlights the importance of having smoke detectors and regularly checking to ensure they're in proper working order.
A battalion chief, four fire engines, two water tenders, an engine from the city of Merced and 25 firefighters responded.
City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.