A fire which seriously damaged the rear portion of the home at 540 Selborne Road in Riverside on Nov. 21 at about 10:45 a.m. started on the building’s flat tar-covered roof, according to Fire Chief Matthew Buckley, and appears to have resulted from repair work being done at the time.

No one was hurt, but the house was rendered uninhabitable by the fire, which traveled through the rear interior walls and joist channels. A pair of bedrooms on the top floor of the split level sustained “extensive” damage as well, Buckley said. There was also smoke damage throughout the house.

“Where the two roofs meet, it’s a split level, and the fire actually was in the walls where all that comes together and meets,” said Buckley. “You can see just by looking at all the different layers it was difficult to get in there and dig and get to actually where the fire was.”

The blaze also damaged the non-structural brick face of the rear wall, and firefighters were forced to take down a section of the brick wall, which was detaching from the frame structure beneath.

The home was purchased by new owners within the past two months and they had been doing a number of improvement projects since that time. A neighbor told the Landmark that a worker was using an open flame on the roof Friday.

A work van and trailer were parked in the driveway of the home on Saturday morning.