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Firefighters extinguish tree fire that spread to rooftop

ENCINITAS — A single unit from the Encinitas Fire Department responded initially to a report of a tree on fire around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday in the parking lot of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church.

Though when the unit approached and saw it was more than just a tree on fire, extra units were called in, according to Encinitas Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Spaulding.

“As the tree was on fire, there was probably a good 20 mile per hour west wind, which pushed the flames about 25-feet off the tree,” Spaulding said. “The tree was about 50-feet tall. It caught the roof of the commercial building across the street on fire.”

Nine units would respond to the scene.

The fire, which had spread to the roof of multiple small businesses in the shopping center on Encinitas Boulevard, was contained and put out in about 30 minutes, Spaulding said.

“The only damage to that building itself was contained to the top of the roof, with no structural damage done,” he said.

“Our truck company did a great job. They got there and immediately hooked up to a hydrant and began shooting water onto the roof.”

The fire’s origin was near the tree, possibly in a dumpster that was also nearby.

Because the fire took place on church grounds, the investigation into what started the fire was handed over to the Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb and Arson division to determine whether it was a hate crime or accidental.

While the investigation is ongoing, a Sheriff’s official said they’ve ruled out the fire as a hate crime.

Encinitas Sheriff’s Deputies assess a fire that appears to have originated on the grounds of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church on Calle Magdalena in Encinitas. Photo by Bill ReillyEncinitas firefighters pull hose and prepare to fight a fire that spread from a tree to the roof of several small businesses in an Encinitas shopping center. Photo by Bill ReillyEncinitas firefighters spray water on a fire that appears to have originated on the grounds of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church on Calle Magdalena in Encinitas. Photo Bill ReillyEncinitas firefighters check for hot spots after containing a fire that appears to have originated in the parking lot of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church on Calle Magdalena in Encinitas. Photo by Bill Reilly Encinitas firefighters look for hot spots on the roof of a structure located at 441 Encinitas Blvd. Photo by Bill ReillyAn Encinitas firefighter sprays water on a hot spot at 441 Encinitas Blvd. on Sunday. Photo by Bill ReillyEncinitas firefighters assess the structure at 441 Encinitas Blvd. on Sunday shortly after 3:30 p.m. Photo by Bill ReillyEncinitas firefighters look for hot spots on the roof of a structure located at 441 Encinitas Blvd. Photo by Bill ReillyEncinitas firefighters look for hot spots on the roof of a structure located at 441 Encinitas Blvd. Photo by Bill Reilly

 

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1 comment

Andy May 18, 2016 at 8:53 am

Great pictures!

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