Santa Barbara- S County

Loud Explosions, Smoke and Flames Startle Santa Barbara Neighborhood

Explosions, Smoke and Flames Startle Neighborhood

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A fire preceded by several loud explosions broke out at a business on the 500 block of Quarantina in Santa Barbara on Sunday.

Brenna Gerlach was working at a nearby office when she heard loud booms. She ran outside to check out what was happening. Gerlach said,"I saw a couple bursts of fire and black smoke so I ran inside and grabbed the phone to call 9-1-1."

The smoke and flames were coming from a storage unit at Hofmann Architecture, a business specializing in the renovation and remodeling of Airstream trailers.

On scene, several people told NewsChannel 3 that the loud explosions continued off and on for about two minutes.

The first firefighters on scene had to bust through a gate to get onto the property. Santa Barbara City Fire Battalion Chief Mike De Ponce says crews were also alerted about propane tanks on the property. Ponce said, "For us, as firefighters that is a huge concern for not only ourselves, but the neighborhood as well."

Crews knocked the fire down quickly and secured the area. But, some damage was done. Hofmann Architecture employee Nate Stover said the contents of the storage unit, including materials used to renovate the Airstream trailers were damaged. He said, "In that storage unit, we house our plumbing supplies, a lot of our electrical supplies, plywood, and hardware."

Stover says he's grateful it wasn't worse. He said, "Thank God none of the Airstreams were damaged, so work can continue."

Fire investigators are looking into the cause of the explosions and the fire.

Preliminary damage estimates are in the thousands, but the business is expected to re-open on Monday.

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