An engineer spent 15 years fireproofing his California home. Here's why his house was the last one standing after a devastating blaze last year.

mabadi@businessinsider.com (Mark Abadi,Daniel T. Allen)
  • Wildfires have burnt thousands of California homes to the ground in recent years.

  • Engineer Chris Arai has spent more than 15 years fireproofing his Sonoma County home, outfitting it with a gas-powered sprinkler system, flame-repellant window gel, and a concrete basement he poured by hand.

  • When the Kincade Fire ripped through Arai's rural community last year, the engineer's home was the only one that survived the blaze.

  • We took a look inside his house and heard what one expert had to say about Arai's safety measures.

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Devastating wildfires in California have burnt countless homes to the ground and displaced thousands of residents in the past few years.

Chris Arai is determined to not let that happen to him.

Arai, an electrical engineer from Healdsburg in Sonoma County, lives in an especially fire-prone area. When the Kincade blaze swept through his rural community in 2019, Arai's was the only house on his ridge that was left standing after the smoke cleared.

That's because 15 years earlier, back in 2004, Arai began dedicating himself to fireproofing his home. His painstaking fire-prevention techniques include a concrete basement he poured by hand, a fire-repellent gel he coats his windows with, and a sprinkler system that dampens surrounding vegetation to prevent fires from consuming them.

The Kincade Fire burned nearly 200 residential buildings to the ground — but not Arai's.

"Definitely the DIY aspect saved the house," he told Business Insider Today.

We visited Arai and saw firsthand the incredible lengths he went to fireproof his home.

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