Law offices at 15 W. Carrillo St. reported smoke inside three offices Tuesday morning, prompting a full three-engine, one-truck response from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.
On the scene, fire Capt. Michael de Ponce said the smoke smelled electrical to him right away, so responders searched the building with thermal imaging cameras to detect heat inside walls.
He said there was no heat source in the offices themselves, but all three offices were serviced by the same air-conditioning unit, which led the search to the roof.
It’s a common problem for motors to burn out and send smoke into the ventilation system, especially in warm weather when air conditioners are running almost constantly, de Ponce said.
Tenants were initially evacuated from the building but returned after the Fire Department cleared out the smoke with a blower.
There were no injuries, and de Ponce said the motor is being replaced by an air-conditioning maintenance worker.