On July 21, 2004 at 12 noon a fire started in a 32 unit apartment complex in National City. Chula Vista, National City and Bonita units responded to the fire which quickly went to 3 alarms.
9 engines and 3 trucks eventually put out the fire after 2 hours. 16 apartment units were saved after the fire's spread was stopped by a trench cut.
The fire was caused by a plumber's torch and quickly spread through balloon construction. Holes cut through the walls of units by the plumbing company retrofitting existing piping in the building helped the fire spread. It was a hot day and when fire reached the wood shake roof, it quickly spread across the roof and through the common attic space.
Firefighters initially went in with an aggressive interior attack but once the fire engulfed the roof and started moving quickly from apartment to apartment a defensive mode was established. All firefighters exited the building prior to the roof collapsing.
Two firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze and approximately 60 people were displaced.