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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 3:58 pm | Fair 67º


Sprinklers Keep Fire in Check at Transition House, But Cause Water Damage

Blaze at Santa Barbara homeless shelter appeared to be electrical in nature; child-care area likely out of commission

Water-soaked cribs outside homeless shelter in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Cribs and other water-soaked items from the child-care area at Transition House in Santa Barbara sit outside the homeless shelter Tuesday evening following a small fire. (Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo)

A small fire at the Transition House homeless shelter in Santa Barbara was kept in check by fire sprinklers Tuesday evening, but the resulting water flow caused damage to the facility’s child-care area, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

A single engine crew responded shortly before 7 p.m. to the shelter at 421 E. Cota St. after the shelter’s fire alarms began ringing, said fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado.

Initial investigation did not reveal any sign of a fire, Mercado said, but crews were unable to gain access to the building.

A few minutes later, they noticed water coming out the building, which indicated the fire sprinklers had activated, Mercado said, adding that light smoke was seen coming from one of the doors.

A full structure-fire response was then ordered, with additional engines and a truck dispatched to the scene.

“After gaining entrance to the building, we found that a small fire had been suppressed by the sprinkler system,” Mercado said. “The sprinklers did their job, and were able to keep the fire in check.”

Occupants on the second floor of the building were evacuated, but were later allowed to return.

Firefighter salvaging items after blaze at homeless shelter. Click to view larger
A Santa Barbara City firefighter helps salvage water-soaked items from the child-care area at the Transition House homeless shelter on Tuesday evening following a small fire. (Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo)

An investigator found a small fire, likely electrical in nature, in the child-care area of the building, Mercado said.

“A lot of water got into the child-care for infants and toddlers,” Mercado said. “A lot of baby-related items and toys and play mats were soaked. It doesn’t like like they will be able to have children in there tomorrow.” 

He estimated the overall damage at less than $10,000.

No injuries were reported.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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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