SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Firefighters with the Santa Barbara City and County fire department battled a structure fire in the 2600 block of Montrose Place in the Mission Canyon area of Santa Barbara County Thursday evening.
The fire broke out just after 5 p.m. in a reported single-story home. Firefighters on scene reported downed electric wires in the area. A Southern California Edison crew was called as fire crews sprayed water and foam on the house.
The resident, an elderly man who has lived there for about 40 years, was able to get out safely with the help of a neighbor, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.
"He told the initial firefighters that he was the only one home at the time and everybody was out so that relieves the firefighters of the burden of having to do a search and rescue operation and concentrate on extinguishing the fire," Zaniboni said.
"He asked me to go in, he told me where his wallet was," Zaniboni continued. "He was really concerned about his wallet and obviously all his credit cards, insurance cards, and all the stuff that goes with it. And I was able to go in there and get his wallet."
The California Highway Patrol was called to assist with traffic control in the area. A fire investigator was also been called out to the scene.
Zaniboni says the fire appears to have started in the garage and quickly spread to the attic. The garage is a total loss but firefighters were able to save the main living area. Inside the garage was a Cadillac.
"They [firefighters] made the decision they could go offensive, meaning they could get inside and extinguish this fire before it spread to the main portion of the residence," said Zaniboni.
Smoke and flames could be seen from our Santa Barbara studios. The fire was knocked down shortly before 6 p.m.
A neighbor across the street, Sequoyah Jade said she saw the smoke, ran outside and "screamed." Then she went back inside, got her mother and a camera and came out. By then she says other neighbors were outside and helping the owner as the first engines were arriving.
The California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff's Department were on hand for traffic control.
Several streets including a portion of Cheltenham and Montrose were closed.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.