Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 5:06 am | Fair 65º


Local News

46 Residents Displaced After Fire Breaks Out at Santa Maria Apartment Complex

Column of heavy smoke visible from blaze on 900 block of West Morrison Avenue

Firefighters help battle a blaze that broke out Wednesday afternoon at an apartment building on West Morrison Avenue in Santa Maria. Click to view larger
Firefighters help battle a blaze that broke out Wednesday afternoon at an apartment building on West Morrison Avenue in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A fire at an apartment complex in Santa Maria on Wednesday displaced 46 residents from multiple units.

Santa Maria firefighters were dispatched at about 12:20 p.m. to the blaze at the La Vista Apartments on the 900 block of West Morrison Avenue near Oakley Avenue.

"Arriving fire companies found two well-involved apartment units (with fire) extending into adjoining apartments and the attic space," Battalion Chief Mike Barneich said.

They were assisted by Santa Maria police and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and an AMR ambulance was dispatched as a standby. A Cal Fire crew from San Luis Obispo County also assisted. 

Officers evacuated the entire building before the first fire crews arrived, Barneich said. 

"An aggressive interior attack coordinated with vertical ventilation quickly knocked down the main body of fire. However, multiple ventilation holes and extensive overhaul finally put the fire under control," Barneich said.

Concealed spaces due to the design of the building hampered crews battling the blaze, Barneich said.

Neighbors watched from nearby sidewalks as crews fought the fire, which sent a large column of smoke visible from around the Santa Maria Valley.

Traffic was congested in the area as people were drawn by the large column of smoke. 

The Red Cross worked with 46 displaced occupants since the building was ruled uninhabitable, Barneich said.

Officials estimate the loss, including the building and contents, at $500,000 for the apartments that part of the La Vista Southeast Community for the large complex.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, Barneich said late Wednesday.

At the same time crews were battling the apartment complex fire, some emergency personnel were diverted to a rollover vehicle accident blocks away on Morrison Avenue at Russell Avenue that left one person with minor injuries.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

A column of smoke rises behind the Santa Maria Foods Co. on South Broadway due to an apartment fire blocks aways Wednesday. Click to view larger
A column of smoke rises behind the Santa Maria Foods Co. on South Broadway due to an apartment fire blocks aways Wednesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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