Crews douse pair of small fires
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara City Fire Department doused a pair of small vegetation fires Saturday afternoon near the Santa Barbara Waterfront.
At approximately 3 p.m., the department received a report of a vegetation fire in the area of Calle Cesar Chavez and the railroad tracks. Arriving units found a fire in a palm tree that was spread to nearby vegetation, said Battalion Chief Robert Mercado, fire spokesman.
The first arriving engine was able to quickly knock down the fire and halt the forward progress before conducting an extensive overhaul due to the fuels from the tree and nearby pampas grass, he said.
While on scene, another fire was reported at Cabrillo Boulevard and Calle Cesar Chavez. The resources from the first incident were able to respond and quickly douse the 20-foot by 50-foot blaze located inside a fenced off area.
Police were called to the area to make contact with homeless nearby for any follow-up to the investigation. Battalion Chief Mercado said the cause of both fires is under investigation, but said they were “definitely not accidental in nature.”
“I really can’t say one way or another (what the cause was), but it’s just too coincidental to have two fires in that close of a proximity within that amount of time,” he said.
Railroad traffic was halted for about 15 minutes to allow crews to safely access the area.
— Mitchell White
Decedent found down a cliff
GOLETA — The body of a Long Beach man was found 100 feet down a cliff side in a creek Friday morning near the 200 block of Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta, authorities said.
At 6:30 a.m. Friday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area after a resident reported a green Ford Expedition in the roadway resting on the driver’s side. The vehicle apparently drove up the right roadway embankment and then rolled on its side, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Units on scene found the empty vehicle. As they checked the area, they found the deceased man in the creek, about 20 feet west of where the vehicle was located, Ms. Zick said.
An additional witness reported talking with a subject near the vehicle in the early morning hours after the crash. The subject told the witness he was attempting to get his vehicle back on its wheels.
“The witness suggested that subject call for a tow truck. The subject also told the witness that he was in the area visiting family and was looking for a place to camp,” Ms. Zick said.
Search and Rescue personnel responded and used a rope system to bring the victim back to the roadway. Coroner’s detectives have identified the victim as 36-year-old Michael Currier, of Long Beach. Foul play is not suspected in the incident, Ms. Zick said.
–– Mitchell White
Lane closures planned for Highway 101 widening
CARPINTERIA — Several lane closures are planned next week as work continues on the Linden and Casitas Pass Highway 101 widening project in Carpinteria.
From 9 p.m. tonight to 5 a.m. Monday, one northbound lane will be closed from Bailard Avenue to Santa Claus Lane. A similar closure will be in place during overnight hours Monday to Thursday, which will also include the offramp at Casitas Pass Road and the onramp at Linden Avenue, according to Caltrans officials.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the offramp at Casitas Pass Road and the onramp at Linden Avenue will be closed.
From 10 p.m. tonight to 7:30 a.m. Monday, one southbound lane will be closed from Santa Claus Lane to Bailard Avenue. A similar closure will be in place during overnight hours Monday to Thursday, which will also include the onramp and offramp at Casitas Pass Road and the offramp at Linden Avenue.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the onramp and offramp at Casitas Pass and the offramp at Linden Avenue will be closed, officials said.
The northbound onramp at Casitas Pass Road is temporarily closed for up to five weeks. The closure allows cres to shift the northbound lanes and install pavement on part of northbound 101. A detour sign is posted in the area.
The majority of the project improvements have been opened. Via Real from the northbound 101 offramp at Casitas Pass Road over Carpinteria Creek will be open within a month. Motorists are advised to expect to see crews finishing up construction details throughout the project sites.
Crews are continuing work on the new roundabout at the 101, Linden Avenue, Via Real, Casitas Pass and Ogan roads.
For more information, visit www.sbroads.com.
— Mitchell White