Firefighters Battle Two Alarm Commercial Structure Fire in Vista, California

On November 14, 2003 at 1405 hours, the Vista Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire at 2453 Ramona Drive. (Vista Alarm # 7171) The fire was reported by neighbors in the area via numerous 911 calls.

The first alarm structure fire dispatched Battalion 1203 Chief Berg along with Engine 1213, 1211, 1214 ,Truck 1271, and Rescue Ambulance 1293 along with Oceanside and North County Fire equipment and personnel.

First on scene medic 1293 reported a "fully involved" structure fire. The structure was in a rural residential area of the city.

The 125' by 125' wood framed structure was a 4 bay commercial style garage used to customize large passenger busses. The structure contains various flammable liquids and combustible stock along with 3 large buses.

First-in firefighters were faced with heavy fire conditions and severe exposure problems including adjacent high wildland area, occupied horse stables and the ocean wind from the west. The fire building could only be accessed via a narrow driveway behind occupied residential structures.

A full second alarm was struck by Battalion Chief Jeff Berg summoning additional mutual aid assistance from Carlsbad and San Marcos Fire Departments. The second alarm assignment added units to the scene and placed others in primary staging to be used for exposure protection based upon the high volume of fire and weather conditions.

Vista firefighters determined a primary all clear in the fire building and a defensive fire attack was ordered based upon the uncertain contents, deteriorating conditions of the building and the rapid high volume of fire.

The fire was under control and contained in 30 minutes. During the fire the roof assembly and 2 perimeter walls collapsed. There were no injuries at this incident.

The fire was investigation by the Vista Fire Prevention Bureau and the San Diego Sheriff's Bomb Arson Unit. The cause was determined to be in the area of some vehicular electrical equipment that was being installed on one of the bus units during the customization process. This incident has been determined as accidental.

Damage was estimated to be at $300,000 in lost vehicles and $150,000 for the wood frame structure and contents. The structure contained no fire alarm or fire sprinkler systems

Vista is in Southern California (San Diego County) and has a city and district area made up of 40 square miles of canyons, rural, city and industrial parks. The population is 100,000 people and the fire protection is provided by the City of Vista Fire Department. The Vista Fire Department is made up of 70 career firefighters and staff with 4 stations. Vista Fire Department also provides EMS, heavy rescue service, along with fire investigation and fire prevention services.