Family home of Summer Sanders burns in California

Updated: June 11, 2007, 2:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ROSEVILLE, Calif. -- Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders was in town for a swim meet that bears her name the same day her family home in nearby Granite Bay burned.

Sanders, 34, lives in Park City, Utah, where her four Olympic medals -- two gold, a silver and a bronze -- are safely stored. But she was at the Roseville Aquatics Complex in suburban Sacramento for the Summer Sanders Invitational on Saturday when the fire broke out.

The story was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.

Sanders' cell phone rang with the news, just as the 200-meter butterfly was about to begin.

"We looked up, and everyone said, 'We hope that's not your dad's house,' " Sanders recounted Sunday, as she prepared to board a flight home, according to the Bee. "There was a big, billowing cloud of black smoke."

Sanders' father, Robert Sanders, 66, is a retired dentist. His home is on Carolinda Drive, about 20 minutes from the pool.

Her brother, Trevor Sanders, said the fire destroyed his sister's NCAA trophies from her years at Stanford University, as well as her Goodwill Games medals and her 1992 Babe Zaharias award for amateur women athletes.

Robert Sanders was allowed to return to his 3½-acre homesite on Sunday morning, the Bee reported.

"He was pretty excited," Trevor Sanders told the newspaper. "He found some drawers that still had some of his Olympic pins."

But no one, including the family cat, was injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.