Two firefighters were briefly hospitalized after a third-alarm blaze in Pacific Beach early Christmas morning consumed a three-story building under construction, burned three rental units, set palm trees alight and melted nearby cars as well as a fire engine.
The fire began around 1 a.m. on Hornblend Street near Jewell Street and within just half an hour had grown into a third-alarm fire, which is bigger and more complex than a first-alarm fire, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Jeff Mitchell.
About 100 firefighters were deployed to extinguish it, he said. It took about an hour for them to knock down.
“The building was in the framing stage, and those always burn extremely hot,” San Diego Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Brian Raines told OnScene.TV in an interview at the scene.
The fire burned three rental units in two nearby houses, melted nearby cars and cast embers that set ablaze several palm trees a few blocks away, Raines added. A nearby high-voltage power line also caught fire, Mitchell said, and the front side of one fire engine melted.
The two injured firefighters were briefly hospitalized, medically evaluated for minor burns and exhaustion and released within an hour, Mitchell added.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Ana Ramirez contributed to this report.