Wayne O'Malley of Chardonnay Street in Silver Oak found out how quick a fire can start when a blaze destroyed his home Saturday.
He left the house to run an errand, and forgot to turn off a space heater in a computer room off the garage.
Carson City Deputy Nate Brehm said other residents were in their homes, and it didn't take long for the home to be completely engulfed.
O'Malley, returning from his errand, followed the fire trucks to his neighborhood, and that's when he learned it was his home that was burning. He said his wife, Nancy, was in Oakland, Calif., helping his children out with the grandkids.
"I'll just call her and tell her not to come back," he said, adding that he planned to stay with a buddy for the next few days.
The O'Malleys have no one else living in the home, and no pets, so there were no injuries.
Brehm said the sheriff's office evacuated four surrounding homes as a precaution, but said no other structure was damaged.
"Stucco resists fire a little better than some," he said. "This was just one of those little mistakes."
He said there were chemicals and paint stored in the garage and that helped the fire spread more quickly.
Del Dennis, a neighbor, said he would get together with the American Legion Post 56 to help replace items lost by O'Malley, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War.
"We're going to help him replace things," Dennis said.
O'Malley said one car was in the garage, a yellow Sparrow that he took to Virginia City with the post to enter in the town's many parades.
"There's $20,000 up in smoke," he said.
Carson City and East Fork fire departments responded to the fire, with three trucks, two rescue units, an air/light support truck and administrative car.