Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula Fire units were joined by other agencies in an early morning fire at a condominium complex, an incident being investigated as arson. Several people jumped from the second story to escape the fire that damaged four units, three heavily.

SPFD: Residents jump from second story, others evacuated in condo fire

February 13, 2015
Santa Paula News

A fast-moving fire forced some residents of a Santa Paula condominium complex to jump to safety from the second story in a blaze that brought firefighters from throughout the west county and injured five people.

Although the cause of the fire has not yet been determined an arson investigator was called to the scene.

According to Santa Paula Fire PIO Andy VanSciver, Thurday’s blaze was reported at 2:23 a.m. with “victims trapped” in the 100 block of West Ventura Street at Palm Avenue. 

“The first arriving fire personnel found heavy smoke and fire conditions from multiple units,” of the condominium complex said VanSciver, who noted that as engines reached the scene Santa Paula Police Sr. Officer Jimmy Fogata and Ventura County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Vaden were evacuating residents from the burning units. 

“Multiple residents jumped to safety from the second floor,” and VanSciver said one person was transported to Santa Paula Hospital with an ankle injury.  

In all, more than 12 people in multiple units were displaced by the fire, which started in a downstairs unit and “quickly spread to three adjacent units, heavily damaging the unit of origin and the unit above.

“Fire crews made quick access and attacked the fire,” knocking it down at 3:04 a.m. 

Aside from three SPFD units on scene the blaze drew heavy mutual aid including numerous personnel and equipment from Ventura County Fire, Ventura City Fire, Fillmore Fire and AMR.

VanSciver said three of the four units sustained heavy fire damage and the fourth unit sustained minor damage. Damage to the four units - boarded up and red-tagged - is estimated at $200,000. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation by arson investigators from the Ventura County Fire Department. 

“There didn’t appear to be any working smoke detectors in the units involved,” said VanSciver. 

There were no injuries to firefighters.

This story will be updated.