A fire that tore through the second floor of a business in Chula Vista last week, collapsing the roof of the building and injuring four firefighters, has been deemed accidental by investigators.
The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) confirmed Tuesday that the Jan. 25 blaze at the Action Footwear store on H Street was an accident.
Based on the size of the building, the amount of fire damage and the injuries to the firefighters, the ATF was tapped last week by the Chula Vista Fire Department to help with the investigation into the fire’s origin and cause. The ATF – with 20 additional investigators – began processing the scene on Jan. 28.
Investigators determined the fire started on the second floor of Active Footwear. People were inside when it sparked at around 5:40 p.m. that day, but they all managed to escape safely.
The CVFD said high winds blowing through the county that day exacerbated the fire. As the flames spread quickly, the roof of the building collapsed.
During the firefight, four CVFD firefighters were hurt. Three firefighters suffered injuries ranging from minor burns to second-degree burns; they were all taken to UC San Diego Medical Center. The fourth firefighter suffered an ankle injury and was taken to Sharp Chula Vista hospital. All four firefighters are expected to recover.
No one else was hurt in the fire.
The NRT includes special agents highly experienced and certified in fire investigations. After looking at all the evidence in this case, the ATF said the cause of the fire was accidental. The NRT left the scene Tuesday.
NBC 7 has reached out to the ATF for further details about the origin of the fire.