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City of Ventura - Fire Department
Tuesday January 4th, 2011 :: 03:17 p.m. PST

Community

**UPDATE**Pepper Tree condominium complex structure fire, Nine total injuries (5 adults, 4 children)

Date: January 12, 2011
Incident Number: 11-0000554
Information Contact: Donald Bartosh, Battalion Chief
805-339-4300

Incident Type: Residential structure fire
Date/Time of Incident: January 4, 2011 / 0636 hours
Incident Location: Pepper Tree condominium complex
1300 Saratoga Ave., Ventura
Cause: Accidental: electrical outlet overloading and faulty electrical connection (see explanation below)

Injuries: Nine total (5 adults, 4 children)
Fire Equipment: 6 paramedic engine companies, 2 truck companies, 1 Light & Air unit (Santa Paula), 5 ambulances, and 6 Command & Support units

Agencies Involved: Ventura City Fire, Ventura Police, Ventura County Fire, Santa Paula Fire, American Medical Response, American Red Cross, So. Cal. Gas & Edison

Damage Estimate: Structure: $750,000
Contents: $150,000

Smoke detectors: None

Narrative: Ventura and regional fire units were dispatched to a multi-unit residential structure fire at the Pepper Tree condominium complex earlier this morning. Initial 911 callers reported occupants jumping from second-story windows and possible trapped person(s) still inside. The first arriving fire unit (ME5) was in the process of clearing a separate medical aid incident, in the same complex, at the time of dispatch. The first arriving engine company (ME5) began rescue operations to ensure all occupants were out of the two free-burning apartments, both located on the second story. VPD officers evacuated surrounding apartments and assisted those involved to safety.

Once all occupants were confirmed to be out of the danger area, and triage and treatment were started for those injured, a mixture of Ventura City, Ventura County and Santa Paula City firefighters fully extinguished the fire in half-an-hour.

In total, nine people were treated on-scene, then transported to both VCMC and CMH for further treatment. Types of injuries sustained were: smoke inhalation, lacerations to hands, legs and feet caused by exiting through second-story windows and broken window glass. None of the injuries sustained appeared to be life threatening.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation pending the interviewing of hospitalized witnesses. Two second-floor apartments sustained significant fire damage; the two apartments directly below suffered minor to moderate water damage.

The American Red Cross assisted in finding temporary housing for those residents displaced by the incident.

Fire units were on scene for extinguishment, cause investigation and overhaul a total of five hours

This incident illustrates the importance and need for having an emergency escape preplan in place before a home emergency occurs; also, the absolute necessity for maintaining multiple working smoke detectors in all bedrooms and hallways leading to bedrooms to provide an early warning system to occupants in the event of fire.


Based on the analysis of post-fire evidence and witness accounts, it was determined that the fire’s cause was a household electrical outlet’s faulty connection and resulting arcing. Indicators showed the fire’s origin was located in the area of an electrical outlet in the living room behind a sofa or other combustible material. One or more multi-outlet devices were plugged into the outlet of origin, which supplied power to Christmas decorations and other appliances. Evidence showed electrical arcing and high heat production at the outlet plug due to a probable loose connection at the site of the wall outlet or multi-outlet connectors. The electrical arcing and high heat ignited nearby combustible material in the living room. Fire quickly spread and flashed throughout the living room area.



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Date: January 4, 2011
Incident Number: 11-0000554
Information Contact: Donald Bartosh, Battalion Chief
805-339-4300

Incident Type: Residential structure fire
Date/Time of Incident: January 4, 2011 / 0636 hours
Incident Location: Pepper Tree condominium complex
1300 Saratoga Ave., Ventura
Cause: Under investigation
Injuries: Nine total (5 adults, 4 children)
Fire Equipment: 6 paramedic engine companies, 2 truck companies, 1 Light & Air unit (Santa Paula), 5 ambulances, and 6 Command & Support units

Agencies Involved: Ventura City Fire, Ventura Police, Ventura County Fire, Santa Paula Fire, American Medical Response, American Red Cross, So. Cal. Gas & Edison

Damage Estimate: Structure: $750,000
Contents: $150,000

Smoke detectors: None

Narrative: Ventura and regional fire units were dispatched to a multi-unit residential structure fire at the Pepper Tree condominium complex earlier this morning. Initial 911 callers reported occupants jumping from second-story windows and possible trapped person(s) still inside. The first arriving fire unit (ME5) was in the process of clearing a separate medical aid incident, in the same complex, at the time of dispatch. The first arriving engine company (ME5) began rescue operations to ensure all occupants were out of the two free-burning apartments, both located on the second story. VPD officers evacuated surrounding apartments and assisted those involved to safety.

Once all occupants were confirmed to be out of the danger area, and triage and treatment were started for those injured, a mixture of Ventura City, Ventura County and Santa Paula City firefighters fully extinguished the fire in half-an-hour.

In total, nine people were treated on-scene, then transported to both VCMC and CMH for further treatment. Types of injuries sustained were: smoke inhalation, lacerations to hands, legs and feet caused by exiting through second-story windows and broken window glass. None of the injuries sustained appeared to be life threatening.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation pending the interviewing of hospitalized witnesses. Two second-floor apartments sustained significant fire damage; the two apartments directly below suffered minor to moderate water damage.

The American Red Cross assisted in finding temporary housing for those residents displaced by the incident.

Fire units were on scene for extinguishment, cause investigation and overhaul a total of five hours

This incident illustrates the importance and need for having an emergency escape preplan in place before a home emergency occurs; also, the absolute necessity for maintaining multiple working smoke detectors in all bedrooms and hallways leading to bedrooms to provide an early warning system to occupants in the event of fire.

Address/Location
City of Ventura - Fire Department
1425 Dowell Dr
Ventura, CA 93003

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1

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