Flames tore through a Solana Beach condo complex Tuesday night forcing residents and neighbors to evacuate while firefighters scrambled to protect their property.
The fire sparked at around 9 p.m. at the Del Mar Beach Club condo complex at 760 Pacific Surf Drive, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO).
“There were flames coming out the roof,” said resident Bobby Ridgeway. “The smoke was blowing right straight into my place.”
The Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Vista, and San Diego fire departments responded. At one point, there were a combined 68 fire and 15 medical personnel from those agencies at the scene.
“They filled this whole area here and just started hooking up to the fire hydrants and everything,” Ridgeway told NBC 7.
Flames could be seen on the roof of the building that housed 5 three-story condos. At least one unit was fully engulfed as flames spread into the attic of the building, Fire Chief Mike Stein said.
Eventually, all five units were in flames.
“It's scary. It's devastating. I'm seeing the loss and the chaos and everything it creates,” said resident Cindy Rawlings who was evacuated from one of the condo units.
Firefighters used ladder booms to put themselves in better position to fight the fire. The roaring flames damaged the roof of the building and caused it to collapse in two places, the fire chief said.
“It seemed like, the more they tried, the bigger the fire got,” Ridgeway said.
Once the building startedr to crumble, it became unsafe for firefighters to tackle the blaze from the inside, Stein said. The firefight continued from outside the building.
Residents of all five units were displaced, according to Stein.
“They made me leave, just get your dog and go. I was trying to move my car, but they wouldn’t let me,” Rawlings said.
On Wednesday morning, crews continued to put out hot spots and keep the area safe.
Ridgeway, originally from Poway, said he is used to seeing fire, “But I never expected any sort of fire situation down at the beach.”
The SDSO and Encinitas arson investigators were called to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire, which was not known Tuesday evening.
No injuries have been reported.
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