Vista, California Firefighters Battle Garage Fire

The structure contained various flammable liquids and combustibles stock stored for shipment to local auto parts stores.


On December 3, 2002, at 1728 hours, the Vista Fire Department was dispatched to a reported garage fire at 1345 Sunset Road. (Vista Alarm # 7242)

The fire was reported by neighbors in the area via numerous 911 calls.

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 VFD is made up of 70 career firefighters and staff with 4 stations. VFD provides EMS. Fire and heavy rescue service along with fire investigation and fire prevention services.

The first alarm structure fire dispatched Battalion 1203 Chief Terich along with Engine 1211, 1212, 1214, Truck 1271, and Rescue Ambulance 1291.

First on scene Battalion 1203 reported a "fully involved" structure fire.

The area is a rural residential area of the city. The 150' by 40' block & wood framed structure was the business office and warehouse for a home based wholesale auto parts store supplies.

The structure contains various flammable liquids and combustibles stock stored for shipment to local auto parts stores.

First-In firefighters were faced with heavy fire conditions and a barrage of explosions, along with jettisoned aerosol cans falling from the sky.

The fire building could only be accessed via a narrow rural driveway.

A defensive fire attack was ordered based upon the uncertain contents, conditions of the building and the rapid high volume of fire.

This incident was upgraded to a Haz-Mat response, which dispatched a San Diego Haz-Mat response team to inspect the contaminated run-off and implement clean up requirements to the building owner.

There were no injuries at this incident. Damage was estimated to be at $100,000 in lost stock and $50,000 for the wood frame structure.

Final investigation by the Vista Fire Prevention Bureau found that a worn and defective wall mounted strip plug failed and arced causing heat and ignition to combustibles in the office desk area.

This fire extended to the adjacent open warehouse and ignited the flammable stock. The fire has been determined accidental.