Fire fighters halt dangerous Loma fire threatening TV news station, homes in Santa Barbara, US
US fire fighters got a fast-moving brush fire under control that threatened a television station and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in Santa Barbara Thursday evening, 20 May 2021. The Loma Fire had burned 10 acres and was 50 percent contained as of early Friday morning, according to the Santa Barbara Fire Department. Evacuation orders were lifted and forward progress on the fire was halted. At least one home and an outbuilding were damaged.
The Loma Fire broke out before 20h50 in steep terrain near the 600 block of West Ortega Street. Flames were visible from downtown Santa Barbara.
Within about 30 minutes, the wind-whipped blaze had burned up the same hill on which the headquarters of KEYT-TV, the CBS and ABC CBS-affiliated television station in Santa Barbara, is located, along with hundreds of homes. Winds were gusting at up to 50 miles per hour, according to fire fighters.
About 50 homes were threatened at the height of the fire, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported. A large home on Via del Cielo was damaged, with embers getting into the home’s kitchen, the fire department added.
Residents of dozens of homes were evacuated. Ryan Fish of KEYT tweeted that TV crews were safely evacuated as well.
The evacuees were directed to Ledbetter Beach. However a little after midnight Friday, crews got a handle on the blaze, and by 12h30 am, the evacuations were lifted and residents were allowed to return home.
The fire was contained on 22 May 2021 and there were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Victor Angel Hernandez, 23, was arrested that Thursday night for allegedly starting the fire in the Loma Alta Drive area that burned over seven acres and damaged several structures. He pleaded not guilty to arson of an inhabited structure, attempted arson and reckless burning.
Sources: CBS Los Angeles