The South Pasadena Fire Department is investigating the cause of a smoky blaze that broke out Wednesday afternoon and caused parts of a home at 708 Charter Oak St. to collapse while damaging an adjacent home. There were no reported injuries to occupants or firefighters, but three cats were unaccounted for, officials said.
Six area fire departments responded to the two-alarm blaze, with 45 firefighters involved on scene.
Firefighters battled the blaze in temperatures that approached 100 degrees, and when it finally was extinguished, they could be seen catching their breath and cooling off on nearby lawns.
The fire was first reported at 3:08 p.m., according to South Pasadena Fire Chief Paul Riddle. Around five children and two adults were in the home at the time of the fire, and they quickly escaped unharmed, he said — adding it was unclear if the home was being used as a daycare..
The first fire truck to arrive on scene was from Pasadena, Riddle said.
“Once on scene they reported heavy smoke and flames showing from the dispatch address with flames impinging on the house just west which was 700 Charter Oak,” said Riddle. “They immediately called for a second alarm and we started to get units responding from Pasadena, Alhambra, San Marino, L.A. City and San Gabriel.”
The departments soon went on “defensive attack” to get everyone out of the structure due to structural collapse, according to Riddle. The building at 700 Charter Oak St. suffered moderate damage to the rear and a total loss of an unattached garage, he added.
Riddle noted that, of five cats reported by occupants to have been inside the 708 structure, two were located outside and three were unaccounted for.
“They may have gotten out,” said Riddle. “We just don’t know where they’re at.”
Riddle said 911 was first called by a 9-year-old girl in the home.
“Per the occupant, she heard something pop in the restroom, she looked, saw fire and everyone evacuated,” Riddle told the Review. “That was a good heads-up on that little girl’s part.”