Saturday, November 28 , 2015, 3:05 pm | Mostly Cloudy 61º

Fire Forces Evacuation of Hotel Indigo, Restaurant in Santa Barbara

Fire started in wood burning stove's duct system, Santa Barbara City Fire Department investigators say

Santa Barbara City Fire crews respond to a roof fire at Hotel Indigo on lower State Street.
Santa Barbara City Fire crews respond to a roof fire at Hotel Indigo on lower State Street.  (Shaun Kahmann / Noozhawk photo)

By Shaun Kahmann, Noozhawk Intern | @NoozhawkNews | updated logo 2:42 p.m. |

A fire broke out at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara at 121 State St. after a problem with the restaurant's wood burning stove duct system. 

Nearby police officers alerted the Santa Barbara City Fire Department at 11:30 a.m. after seeing smoke.

Officers blocked off a portion of the street in front of the hotel between East Yanonali Street and West Mason Street for firefighters to work once they arrived.

Two hotel employees evacuated roughly 10 people from the building before firefighters arrived and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters used a ladder to scale the two-story building and isolate the fire. They then cut into the roof of the hotel to make sure the fire did not spread to the inside.

No interior fire damage to the hotel has been reported.

The initial reports at the scene were that the HVAC unit malfunctioned and some insulation caught fire, but investigators later found the problem was in the restaurant’s wood burning stove duct system, Fire Capt. Mike de Ponce said.

The ducts ran parallel to the HVAC system ducts in some places so there was confusion as to where the fire started, he said.

Investigators found the problem inside the wood burning stove duct, which runs vertical, then horizontal, and then vertical again.

With the horizontal portion, unburned particulate from the stove gathered, heated up and ignited since it can’t go straight up like a chimney, de Ponce said.

Investigation found that a sprinkler head had activated inside the wood burning stove hood system within the restaurant, which remained closed temporarily, according to City Fire. 

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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