Six vehicles, including three engines, two ladder trucks and an ambulance, were dispatched and the fire was under control and out within an hour, said Battalion Chief Mike Brown of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. The fire started around 4 a.m.
The owner and his son moved out of the house about a year ago, said neighbor Charles Jarrett, and it was for sale. About eight neighbors gathered at Jarrett's house across the street to watch the fire, while his potbelly pig, Porkchop, huddled in his pen in the front yard as far from the flames as possible.
Some neighbors said they'd smelled smoke between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. but saw no evidence of a fire so went back to bed. The fire was first called in at 3:55 a.m.
"I was awakened by my step-daughter's screams of 'Fire across the street!'" said Jarrett. "She immediately called 911 and was advised that they had just received another call about five minutes earlier."
The cottage was approximately 40 years old and had had additions made several times by a previous owner, said Jarrett. The neighborhood, west of Oak Hill Park, is wooded and rural.
The fire disrupted telephone and Internet services. Although Comcast restored Internet service Saturday afternoon by splicing around damaged lines, AT&T informed the neighbors that they would not have telephone service until Monday, said Jarrett.
"The Fire Department did an excellent job of keeping the fire contained from spreading to the many trees surrounding the property and from jumping the road to our redwood trees," he noted.
He also said that when he was taking photos of the damaged house on Saturday, a potential buyer drove up and the family piled out of their car to see the damage. They said they had just made an appointment the day before to meet with the Realtor to re-inspect and perhaps place a bid on the property.
No injuries were reported in the blaze. Damage was estimated at $100,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation.