Saturday, November 28 , 2015, 10:41 am | Fair 60º

‘Suspicious’ Fire Destroys Five Structures in Goleta; Investigation Under Way

Officials say the buildings, located on UCSB property, included three construction trailers, a partially built apartment complex and an old clubhouse

Santa Barbara County firefighters responding to Friday’s structures fires at Storke Road and Whittier Drive in Goleta reported seeing 60- to 70-foot flames.
Santa Barbara County firefighters responding to Friday’s structures fires at Storke Road and Whittier Drive in Goleta reported seeing 60- to 70-foot flames.  (Peter Conover photo)

By Michelle Nelson, Noozhawk Managing Editor | @NoozhawkNews | updated logo |

Santa Barbara County Fire crews responded early Friday to a fire at Storke Road and Whittier Drive in Goleta that left five structures in ruins.

It is considered suspicious, and investigators were on the scene.

Capt. David Sadecki said all five structures — including three construction trailers, a three-story apartment complex under construction and an abandoned clubhouse from the former Ocean Meadows Golf Course — were fully engulfed when crews arrived about 3:30 a.m.

Firefighters reported seeing 60- to 70-foot flames.

Sadecki said the buildings are located on UCSB property.

The call time was 3:29 a.m., and a second alarm went out at 3:36 a.m. to call in more resources. The blaze was knocked down by 4:30 a.m.

No injuries were reported. Storke Road remained closed, with firefighters on scene for cleanup and investigation, Sadecki said.

He said a person of interest was contacted by law enforcement but released.

Goleta fire
Firefighters arrive to find the five structures fully engulfed. (Ryan Cullom photo)

Santa Barbara County Fire was assisted by crews from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, UCSB Police and the county Sheriff's Department. Ten fire engines responded to the scene, with seven from County Fire and three from City Fire.

“At this point, officially it’s suspicious,” engineer Russ Sechler said, adding that it’s generally suspicious when such large fires aren't reported right away. “It’s possible nobody could see given it was early in the morning, but most of the time we’ll be alerted no matter what time it is.”

Santa Barbara County most likely will request a state investigator since the fires were on UCSB property.

The investigation will determine the cause, which could take several days with such a large scene, and the timeline of when it started and when it was discovered and reported. They may have to canvass the neighborhood, Sechler said.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Goleta fire
Santa Barbara County firefighters battle a blaze early Friday that destroyed five structures at Storke Road and Whittier Drive in Goleta. (Zach Edwin photo)

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