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Former Olympian calls in fire, evacuates neighbors

November 09, 2011

A former Olympian reported a house fire in Newport Beach early Wednesday and evacuated his neighbors from the area before firefighters arrived on scene, authorities said.

Chris Duplanty, who was on the men's water polo Olympic teams in 1988, 1992 and 1996, was working in his Harbor View home when he spotted an orange glow against the dark morning sky about 5:26 a.m.

He soon realized that a house on nearby Port Albans Place was on fire. He said he then called 911, woke his wife and alerted neighbors near the house fire of the danger.

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The house turned out to be uninhabited and under construction.

A family was expected to move into it before Thanksgiving Day, according to a Fire Department news release.

The Orange County Fire Authority and Newport Beach firefighters from the Fashion Island, Corona del Mar, Newport Coast and Santa Ana Heights stations responded. The damage was estimated at $100,000.

The cause appeared to be electrical, the release said.

Duplanty said he's taken courses through the city's Community Emergency Response Team program, which teaches how to react in emergency situations.

"[Firefighters] did everything," Duplanty said. "I was just being a neighbor."

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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