Police and fire officials have determined that a New Year’s Day fire that caused $2.6 million in damage, displaced nine and injured one firefighter was accidental in nature.
The three-alarm fire, first reported to firefighters at 8:10 p.m., started at 1357-1359 Masonic Ave., a three-unit apartment building between Frederick and Waller, according to Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
The fire caused about $1.3 million in damage to that structure, and destroyed about $300,000 in contents, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said today.
It spread to neighboring buildings, causing “significant damage” to a single-family home at 1355 Masonic Ave., which sustained about $450,000 in damage, and $300,000 in contents was destroyed, Talmadge said today.
One of the adjacent buildings, which contains both 1363 and 1365 Masonic Ave., sustained about $200,000 in damage to the structure and $100,000 in damage to its contents.
All told, nine people were displaced by the blaze, reports the Ex.
According to ABC7, “it took 100 firefighters 40 minutes” to control the blaze (the Ex says 111 firefighters in 50 minutes, if you’re keeping track). Hayes-White said firefighters’ jobs were made more difficult by the fact that the homes were attached.
“Fortunately it’s not windy tonight,” she said at the scene.
While all residents safely escaped the fire, one person was transported to Davies Medical Center with unspecified injuries, according to police Sgt. Daryl Fong. According to the Ex, this was for “a medical condition not related to the fire.” Talmadge did not have an update today on that person’s condition today.
One person was also treated at the scene for shortness of breath, and a firefighter suffered burns to the ears, reports the Ex.
Police officers on the scene said the fire was initially reported by an elderly man who lives in the downstairs unit. According to one resident, “We didn’t even smell (the fire). I just heard the landlord yelling downstairs and then we saw flames shooting up the back side of the building.”
According to ABC7, fire investigators think “the blaze started in a lightwell in the back of this narrow pathway between the two homes,” but according to the Ex, “Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Morris said Monday that no cause had yet been ruled out.”
While investigators believe the blaze started accidentally, its exact cause had not been determined as of today, Talmadge said Tuesday.
Dan McMenamin of Bay City News contributed to this report