Santa Paula Firefighters quickly extinguished a vehicle fire that spread to adjacent garages early Tuesday at an East Ventura Street condominium complex. Above, firefighters had to cut a hole in the adjacent garage door trying to get to the fire.

Electrical short believed cause of condominium complex garage fire

May 30, 2014
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula Firefighters were able to quickly knock down a fire early Tuesday that started in a parked SUV and then spread to the garage of an East Ventura Street condominium complex. The fire also damaged two other attached garages.

The cause of the blaze appears to be an electrical short, according to Fire Chief Rick Araiza.

The fire was initially reported at about 12:30 a.m. May 27 at 126 E. Ventura St. at Palm Avenue.

When firefighters arrived on scene, the flames had spread from the vehicle to the interior of the enclosed garage and to the garages on either side of the main fire.

The fire was upgraded and additional units from Santa Paula City, Fillmore City and Ventura County Fire were summoned but the blaze was knocked down in about 10 minutes and some engines canceled.

“When I got there it was pretty well knocked down,” said Araiza. “It was a really quick knockdown... “

There were no injuries and although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Araiza said, “It looks like the owner of the vehicle was having electrical problems with the car... the horn would go off and the SUV wouldn’t start. 

“Just looks like there was an electrical short of some kind,” especially as there were signs the fire had started in the engine compartment, “typical to an accidental fire. We attributed this fire to the shorts the car was experiencing.”

Araiza said the vehicle, a Ford Expedition, was destroyed in the blaze, which spread to two other garage structures but did minimal damage.

“Two garage doors were destroyed, there was some damage to the roof of the structure and some wood charring, but I would guess damage was about $20,000 or less to the structure.”

He did not have much information on the value of the vehicle lost but noted, “It was an Expedition... it was totaled and they aren’t a cheap car.”

Araiza said firefighters “Looked for arson but couldn’t find anything... the garage door was closed and the damage was typical to an accidental car fire.”

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