Multiple fires break out along 101, one injured
GOLETA — A woman was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after suffering “possible trauma” Friday afternoon following multiple brush fires that broke along the northbound side of Highway 101 between Patterson and Fairview avenues in Goleta, authorities said.
The first blaze was reported just before 4 p.m. near a homeless encampment in the area. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department launched a full vegetation response and arriving units reported heavy fire and smoke coming from the vegetation between the 101 and Calle Real, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, fire spokesman.
Crews began knocking down the fire, known as the Real Fire, from both the south and north ends. Significant progress was reported as of Friday afternoon as crews worked to protect nearby buildings along Calle Real, Capt. Bertucelli said.
Just before 6 p.m., officials reported a second fire had started roughly 100 to 200 yards away from the original fire. Crews worked to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spotting over the 101. A woman, whose identity was withheld, was transported for treatment after suffering “possible trauma,” Capt. Bertucelli said.
Heavy traffic restrictions were in place as crews worked to douse the fires. At one point, portions of the 101 were shut down in the area of Patterson Avenue. Another closure was in place at Calle Real and Kellogg Avenue.
The cause of the fires is under investigation.
— Mitchell White
Wall heater sparks apartment fire
SANTA BARBARA — A wall heater in the bedroom of an apartment building caused an apartment fire Friday morning in the 300 block of West Pedregosa Street in Santa Barbara, authorities said.
The fire was reported around 3:20 a.m. The Santa Barbara City Combined Communications Center received a report of a fire in the area, with the first arriving engine reporting nothing showing, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.
Fire crews then found an involved unit on the first floor of the complex. An aggressive attack was conducted and the fire was located in a rear bedroom. Residents from adjacent apartments were evacuated, though no injuries were reported, authorities said.
“The reporting party lives in the apartment directly above the involved unit,” said Kevin Corbett, fire spokesman. “He awoke to the smell of smoke in his unit. He investigated and determined the fire was in the unit below him. He called 911 and when firefighters arrived, he pointed out the involved apartment.”
Damage from the fire was limited to the wall and contents within the room, with an estimated damage and property loss of $20,000. The cause of the fire, which was contained to the one bedroom, is still under investigation.
The unit was equipped with smoke detectors, though they melted from the heat produced by the fire. Fire officials remind residents to make sure they have a working smoke detector in each room and hallways of your residence. Residents are also advised to turn off their heaters if they are not going to be home.
— Mitchell White
Santa Maria police investigating robbery
SANTA MARIA — The Santa Maria Police Department is investigating an alleged robbery or embezzlement that took place on Friday morning.
According to authorities, police received a witness report from a KFC located in the 2200 block of Broadway, though police said the alleged crime did not occur at that location.
One person was arrested in connection with the incident, though additional information was withheld on Friday.
— Mitchell White
Families of Caltrans workers ask drivers to “Move Over”
SACRAMENTO — Caltrans is launching its annual “Move Over” educational campaign to raise awareness of the driver’s responsibility to reduce the number of crashes and increase safety for workers and motorists, following two work zone fatalities in November.
Since 1921, 189 Caltrans employees have been killed while working on the highway, mostly due to motorists who do not drive safely in work zones.
In 2019, more than 7,000 work-zone collisions occurred on California highways, causing 3,200 injuries and 53 fatalities.
To increase awareness, children and grandchildren of Caltrans workers are reminding drivers to pay attention, slow down and move over with public service announcements on billboards, radio, television and social media.
— Grayce McCormick