Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 4:50 pm | Overcast 64º


Local News

Eastside Fire Destroys Buildings, Prompts Evacuations

A large contingent of firefighters responds to the blaze on the 1100 block of East De la Guerra Street

A fire early Friday on the city’s Eastside destroyed structures, threatened nearby homes and prompted evacuations, but no injuries were reported, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Battalion Chief Robert Mercado said a large contingent of firefighters responded to the blaze on the 1100 block of East De la Guerra Street.

Crews got the call at 1:18 a.m., and found one building — used for storage and plants — engulfed in flames, Mercado said.

“We quickly made an aggressive fire attack on the building that was on fire, and while it was on fire, it did create heat and actually damage two adjacent structures on adjacent properties, so we requested additional resources because of those exposure problems,” he said.

Five engines, one truck company and Mercado responded to the scene.

The fire spread to surrounding vegetation and threatened neighboring structures, and the first crews to arrive concentrated on protecting nearby homes while other engine companies attacked the fire, Captain Gary Pitney said.

A burning hedge at the back of the De la Guerra Street property broke windows in a residential structure located on North Voluntario Street, and there was some minor damage to the building and some smoke damage to the inside of the building.

Fire crews stayed on the scene for several hours to help fire investigators, who have so far determined the fire started in the wood-framed storage structure, Pitney said.

The Santa Barbara Police Department assisted with the evacuations.

Residents were evacuated from the three properties involved and there were no civilian or firefighter injuries, Mercado said.

Two of the three modular storage outbuildings are “barely standing right now,” Mercado said, are a complete loss, while the third has moderate damage.

The neighboring structures next to the property on De la Guerra Street and one on Voluntario Street — a vacant townhouse/condo and a garage/workshop area — had some minor damage, Mercado said.

“We conducted a primary and secondary search to make sure we didn’t have any victims trapped inside (the outbuildings),” he said. “They came back negative, and we found no evidence of people living in those buildings.”

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Mercado noted that fires in the early morning hours sometimes have a delay in the notification time since people are less likely to see it, so fires can progress faster and bigger than they do during the day.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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.

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