Two-alarm fire in Coronado high rise

A two-alarm fire in a Coronado high rise residential tower sent close to 60 fire fighters rushing to the scene Thursday.

Two major concerns, it's a high rise, and it doesn't have a sprinkler system.

But the blaze was confined to one unit and injuries were kept to a minimum.

“As soon as they came in and saw flames and smoke showing, they called up the second alarm,” said Coronado Fire Department Cmdr. Jesus Ochoa.

It was shortly after 10 AM on Thursday and flames and thick smoke filled a sixth floor unit in the complex's 15 story LA Sierra Tower. The tower is located at the north end of the familiar high rise development which sits just south of the Hotel Del.

As residents and visitors of the evacuated, federal fire fighters from NAS North Island, San Diego, National City, and Chula Vista were arriving as well.

Anytime there's a fire in a high-rise building the concern among emergency crew intensifies. But, this particular building also didn't have a sprinkler system.

Still, each unit is encased in concrete. So the construction, along with quick work from the arriving crews kept the blaze confined to the one unit.

An occupant of the unit, was the only resident to suffer burns.

She was surrounded by family and friend and we're told her major concern was that the fire would spread to other units. Three other occupants of the building were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

Coronado Fire Chief Mike Blood said the blaze was accidental, but couldn't confirm word that it may have started in the kitchen.

In all there are 10 towers here, the building is one of five without a sprinkler system, they were built in the early 70's before the fire code was changed to require sprinklers.

As for retrofitting, I'm not sure where that stands, I know as a fire department, we're always concerned about public safety and sprinklers are always in our best interest,” Chief Blood said.

In all, 54 firefighters, again from a number of surrounding communities, were involved in keeping the fire confined to just the one unit.

Later Thursday, we learned that the fire was caused by a candle, that set a living room couch ablaze, the fire then spread through the rest of the condo.

Damage has been estimated at $200,000.

Categories: KUSI