Oceanside CA— On Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm, the Oceanside Fire Department responded to a report of explosions and fire in the 500 Block of South Barnwell, located in the Loma Alta section of Oceanside.
The first Fire Department unit arrived less than 5 minutes later and found smoke and flames visible from both the inside and the exterior of a small single story, single family residence. Crews quickly pulled attack lines inside to handle fire seen in the kitchen area, as well as to the exterior of the house where flames were also emanating from the water heater closet. Additional crews laddered the roof and cut a hole above the fire to let out the hot gasses and smoke.
All four of the adult occupants at home when the fire started escaped safely. Additionally, they reported to firefighters that they had heard an explosion behind the house and saw flames and smoke coming from several electrical outlets. One occupant initially tried to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher, but joined the other occupants outside when he was unable to completely extinguish all of the flames. While investigating the reported explosions, firefighters located a blown transformer on a power pole behind the house, as well as a downed power line in an adjacent canyon area. The area was quickly isolated to ensure that no one came into contact with the downed power line and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) was requested to respond and evaluate the situation.
After tracking down the last of the flames in the attic and walls, the fire was declared under control 30 minutes after it was first reported. A fire investigator with the Oceanside Fire Department responded to confirm the fire was related to the electrical transformer failure. His investigation confirmed the fire started in electrical outlets in three areas of the house: the kitchen, living room and exterior water heater closet. SDG&E isolated the residence involved in the fire from the rest of their power grid to ensure there were no additional issues while they investigated the cause of the transformer failure. Additionally, since the residents were not able to stay in the house due to the smoke and fire damage and electrical issues, the American Red Cross responded to assist the residents with obtaining lodging for the evening.
The fire was estimated to have caused $30,000 (upgraded from the initial $20,000 estimate) in damage to the structure and contents. A total of 21 firefighters responded on four Engines, one Truck, one Squad, one Ambulance and two Chief Vehicles (one Chief was from Carlsbad Fire).