The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that one person was killed in a deadly residential structure fire that took place in Scotts Valley, CA Tuesday night. The blaze destroyed a small cabin-like structure on the 200 block of Nelson Road.  

Nelson Road Fire Fatality in Scotts Valley, CAShortly after 8:30 p.m., fire agencies were alerted to reports of smoke in the area and, by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the structure was engulfed in flames with only one wall left standing. The location of the structure was at the end of a private road and off of the water grid, so water tenders were brought in to fight the fire.

The occupant was found deceased inside the home at around 10:45 p.m. and has been confirmed to be the homeowner. The victim’s identity, however, has yet to be released as officials are waiting to notify the family. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation as of Wednesday afternoon, though Fire Chief Mark Correira said that it was unclear if the home had smoke detectors.  

Prevention Not Necessarily Protection

While smoke detectors can help greatly in decreasing the risk of injury or death in a home fire, they cannot completely remove it. One out of every five fires occurs in one or two-family homes – yet these fires cause nearly 60 percent of civilian fatalities.  

As was the case in this incident, home fires have become increasingly deadly – even as their numbers have dropped precipitously over the last 40 years.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the death rate in single-family home fires is 13 percent higher than it was in 1980 on a per-fire basis.  

According to attorney Gerald Singleton, finding the cause of the blaze is paramount for families.

“Our hearts go out to the family affected by this tragic incident.  Through my years of experience handling wildfire litigation, I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that a fire can bring and how profound the ramifications can be,” Singleton said. “While the cause of this fire is still under investigation, families want answers. They want to know why this happened and who is responsible.” 

While cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, heating equipment and electrical systems are second and third. If one of these systems proves to be the cause of the blaze, the family of the victim may have options.

“If officials determine that an electrical or heating system or a faulty product is to blame, they have recourse and deserve justice for their unimaginable loss” Singleton went on to say.  “In this situation, it may be in their best interests to speak with an attorney.”

If you have lost a loved one in a residential fire, contact Singleton Scheiber today by calling 831-400-5755 or by emailing