Oceanside CA— On Saturday, September 25, 2021, a two alarm fire in a downtown business and a multi-alarm brush fire that threatened structures near the corner of I-5 and CA-76 put a strain on local firefighting resources that, for a time, had every Oceanside Fire Engine and Truck assigned.
At 10:10 Saturday morning, Engine 211 (E211) was alerted by a citizen to a fire a few blocks away. E211 was able to see a heavy smoke column from the fire station and immediately initiated a full structure fire response to 610 Mission Ave. E211 quickly upgraded the incident to a second alarm when they arrived on scene to heavy smoke and fire conditions coming out of the Benito’s Pizza Café at 610 Mission Ave.
E211 initially attempted to make entry on the rear side of the building, but was diverted to a large electrical panel that was actively arcing. E211 redeployed their hose line to the front of the business and made entry with E213, which had arrived shortly after E211. Upon entry, E211 and E213 were met with extreme heat and smoke conditions, prompting them to send Truck 217 (T217) to the roof to ventilate the structure and allow the super-heated smoke and gasses to release.
T217 was able to cut five ventilation holes, which improved the interior conditions for the engine crews. However, the layout of the business and compartmentalization of the building prohibited the engine crews from reaching the seat of the fire. After 30+ minutes all crews were pulled off the roof and out of the fire occupancy and defensive fire tactics were used.
Two trucks on scene raised their aerial waterway and flowed water through the roof. Crews used large hose lines from the ground to douse the fire from the outside. Additional crews made entry into the adjacent business (Angry Chickz) to check for extension and found that the fire had crossed over into the attic of Angry Chickz. Crews were able to continue fighting the fire inside the building from Angry Chickz, while fighting the fire from outside in the initial fire occupancy.
Fortunately, a firewall was able to keep fire from extending into the third business (Dairy Queen).
Approximately 70 minutes into the incident the fire was finally contained and was no longer spreading within the structure. The fire was completely extinguished approximately five hours after dispatch. The safety of the building prohibited crews from entering, which extended the overhaul process. Another delay was a multiple alarm brush fire that threatened structures also broke in the city, forcing the Incident Command(IC) to prematurely release a few units to assist with that.