Monday, June 25 , 2018, 1:14 am | Overcast 63º


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4 Santa Barbara Condos Damaged in Fire; Smoking Investigated as Cause

No injuries reported in overnight blaze but police arrest a condo resident at the scene for delaying or resisting an officer

A Santa Barbara condo fourplex was heavily damaged from flames and smoke Saturday.
A Santa Barbara condo fourplex was heavily damaged from flames and smoke Saturday.  (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

An early morning fire badly damaged four Upper State Street condominiums Saturday. There were no injuries in the blaze, which investigators believe was smoking-related.

Officials said Santa Barbara Fire Department engines and a hazardous materials vehicle responded to a condo complex in the 2600 block of State Street at El Vedado Lane at 1:30 a.m. Upon arrival, firefighters found one of the 1,200-square-foot units of the fourplex in flames.

Firefighters on the scene called for extra resources — twice — until six engines, a hazardous materials truck and two battalion chiefs responded, Battalion Chief Mike De Ponce said.

The initial unit on fire and the three adjacent units in the fourplex were all evacuated, he said.

Responding fire units were able to contain the fire to one downstairs unit but three nearby units had heavy smoke damage and heat damage.

Preliminary results from investigators show the fire started in the master bedroom of the downstairs unit, and the cause is most likely smoking-related, De Ponce said.

Damage to the structure is estimated at $700,000 and damage to the contents is estimated at $100,000.

There were no injuries to residents or firefighters, De Ponce said.

One condo resident was reportedly acting oddly at the scene, hitting a fence with a shovel, and police arrested him. 

The man was taken into custody for resisting or delaying an officer, Sgt. John Ingram said. 

“He was acting a little bizarre with a shovel in back of the property and officers couldn't get him out of there,” Ingram said. “He approached officers in an aggressive manner.

“They were trying to get him away from the fire and he was not complying.”

Officers at the scene said the fire was blowing out the doors and windows when they arrived at the property, which is located down the hill from First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, Ingram said.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk managing editor 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.

Investigators believe a fire that heavily damaged a condo complex was accidentally started by something smoking-related. Click to view larger
Investigators believe a fire that heavily damaged a condo complex was accidentally started by something smoking-related. (Santa Barbara Fire Department photo)

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