Brush Fire Scorches Vegetation Then Spreads to Structures in Santa Clarita

posted by City News Service - 

SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - A brush fire that scorched about 10 acres of vegetation while spreading to more than a dozen homes in Santa Clarita is 85 percent contained today.

Three firefighters were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the blaze, which was reported at 4:18 p.m. Monday in the 20900 block of Via Estrella, north of Newhall Avenue and west of the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Flames roared uphill through thick brush toward a pair of apartment complexes as helicopter crews made water drops and ground crews moved in to protect the structures.

Resident Al Schlicher told NBC4 he was trapped in his apartment.

“I didn't get scared until there was no way out,” he said. “I tried to get out the front door, couldn't because it was too hot and the flames were literally almost up against the apartment.”

He went to a burned-out window in his apartment and shouted to firefighters below, who told him to seek shelter in his bathroom, NBC4 reported.

“These guys were incredible,” Schlicher said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department sent resources to assist in battling the flames.

An hour after the blaze was first reported, crews had made substantial progress in dousing most of the open flames, but black smoke and fire could be seen coming from the roof of an apartment complex. Fire crews on the scene worked to contain the flames to the attic area of the building off Alder Drive.

A second apartment complex on Alder Drive also sustained damage on a lower floor, according to a report from the scene.

In all, 13 homes were affected, the county fire department reported.

The fire's spread was halted about 6:15 p.m. Monday with about 10 acres burned.

All roads are open with the exception of Alder and Trumpet drives, which are open to residents with identification only, according to a tweet from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

An evacuation center was set up at Golden Valley High School for those affected by the fire.

As crews battled the blaze, a second brush fire, this one about a quarter-acre in size, broke out in the area of the Antelope Valley Freeway and Sand Canyon Road, but water drops made quick work of the flames.

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