Santa Barbara, CA – Electrical fire at homeless shelter extinguished by sprinkler system; No injuries reported

A small fire at the Transition House homeless shelter in Santa Barbara was kept in check by fire sprinklers Tuesday evening, but the resulting water flow caused damage to the facility’s child-care area, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

A single engine crew responded shortly before 7 p.m. to the shelter at 421 E. Cota St. after the shelter’s fire alarms began ringing, said fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado.

Initial investigation did not reveal any sign of a fire, Mercado said, but crews were unable to gain access to the building.

A few minutes later, they noticed water coming out the building, which indicated the fire sprinklers had activated, Mercado said, adding that light smoke was seen coming from one of the doors.

A full structure-fire response was then ordered, with additional engines and a truck dispatched to the scene.

“After gaining entrance to the building, we found that a small fire had been suppressed by the sprinkler system,” Mercado said. “The sprinklers did their job, and were able to keep the fire in check.”

Occupants on the second floor of the building were evacuated, but were later allowed to return.

An investigator found a small fire, likely electrical in nature, in the child-care area of the building, Mercado said.

“A lot of water got into the child-care for infants and toddlers,” Mercado said. “A lot of baby-related items and toys and play mats were soaked. It doesn’t like like they will be able to have children in there tomorrow.” 

He estimated the overall damage at less than $10,000.

No injuries were reported.

2 thoughts on “Santa Barbara, CA – Electrical fire at homeless shelter extinguished by sprinkler system; No injuries reported”

  1. While the comments about water damage are valid, I wish it would be pointed out that the water damage is a tiny fraction of what the water damage from a fire hose would be attacking a far larger fire. Please tell the whole, accurate story.

    1. We couldn’t agree more Barry! Thanks for the comment. This blog is intended, in part, to highlight when the media incorrectly focuses on water damage, instead of the lives and property SAVED by the sprinkler system. Let’s contact the journalist who wrote this story (Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor | @tombol) and share with him our perspective. Thanks again. (Jeff Norton, blog editor)

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