Two-alarm fire sends flames shooting up to 100 feet in the air

A two-alarm fire destroyed two houses in South Taft early Wednesday morning.
The fire was reported at 2:25 a.m. On the 900 block of Buena Vista Street and arriving firefighters found flames shooting as high as 100 fee in the air when they arrived.
One house was totally engulfed in flames and the fire had spread to an adjacent home, several vehicles and outbuildings as well, Kern County Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Glaser said.
Three engines and a ladder truck were originally dispatched to the fire and a second alarm brought engines in from outlying areas including McKittrick and Buttonwillow to battle the fire as it threatened to spread to even more structures.
A total of 20 firefighters fought the flames.
Firefighters were hampered by  downed live power lines to the front of the burning structure.
By the time the fire was under control, one structure had burned to the ground, leaving only a chimney standing in the charred rubble.
A second structure was nearly gutted, too.
The home leveled by the fire was occupied, Glaser said, but no one was at home at the time.
The heavily-damaged structure next door was vacant, the chief said.
Total damages is estimated at $150,000 to property and contents and firefighters estimated they were able to save adjacent structures valued at $250,000.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Two arson investigators were called to the scene, KCFD Spokesman Sean Collins said.