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Local News

‘Suspicious’ Fire Damages 3 Trucks, Business in Santa Barbara

Firefighters had to cut through a metal driveway gate to gain access to the Lower Eastside blaze

Three trucks and a nearby building were damaged early Saturday in a “suspicious” fire at 130 N. Calle Cesar Chavez in Santa Barbara. Damage was estimated at $125,000.
Three trucks and a nearby building were damaged early Saturday in a “suspicious” fire at 130 N. Calle Cesar Chavez in Santa Barbara. Damage was estimated at $125,000. (Urban Hikers photo)

[Scroll down to see video of the fire.]

Three trucks were badly damaged by flames early Saturday in a fire on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside that officials are calling “suspicious.”

Santa Barbara firefighters had to cut through a metal gate to gain access to a fire at a Lower Eastside business early Saturday on Calle Cesar Chavez. (Urban Hikers photo)
Santa Barbara firefighters had to cut through a metal gate to gain access to a fire at a Lower Eastside business early Saturday on Calle Cesar Chavez. (Urban Hikers photo)

A nearby building also sustained damage.

Santa Barbara firefighters were called out at about 2:30 a.m. to 130 N. Calle Cesar Chavez after a fire alarm was triggered, fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado said.

He said the first crews to arrive saw smoke and flames coming from the parking lot, but were hampered in reaching the fire by a metal gate.

Using metal-cutting tools, firefighters gained access to the fire, which was burning in three box trucks belonging to an insulation company, Mercado said. One truck was engulfed in flames and the other two were starting to catch fire.

No injuries were reported, and the blaze was under control in about 15 minutes, he said.

Crews also checked to make sure no one was in the adjacent building, which is used by Insulate SB, and that the flames had not spread to the structure.

Damage from the fire was estimated at $100,000 to the vehicles and $25,000 to the structure.

An investigator was called in, and the fire was labeled as “suspicious,” Mercado said.

He noted that about 95 percent of the time, fire-alarm calls turn out to be false.

In this case, he said, smoke drifted into the adjacent building, setting off a smoke alarm and likely preventing a larger blaze.

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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