Fire now
The fire at 1177 Keith Ave. in the Berkeley hills caused an estimated $800,000 worth of damage. Photo: K. Lawson

The fire today that saw two stories of a Berkeley hills home extensively damaged, and a huge plume of black smoke visible for miles, was caused by a portable heater setting alight a bed mattress, according to the Berkeley Fire Department.

Interim Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said a mattress caught fire in a dormer room at the top of the house and the blaze spread to the second story below.

Webb estimated the damage to the home was valued at $800,000.

Nobody was at home at 1177 Keith Ave. when the fire started, according to Webb.

A neighbor called the home’s owner, believed to be Heidi Tarver, to alert her to the fact that the home was ablaze. The Berkeley Fire Department received a first call at 11:47 a.m. The fire was fully extinguished by about 2:00 p.m.

Firefighters respond to house fire in Berkeley hills [02.06.13]

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...