LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Alhambra firefighters responded to a fire that damaged four garages located at the back alley of Hidalgo Avenue at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue on Monday evening, before spreading to neighboring structures.
The fire destroyed or partially damaged four small detached parking garages behind 308 and 310 S Hidalgo Ave, while also causing minor damage to a house at 310 S Hidalgo Ave, said Mitch Bray, the Alhambra Fire Department’s battalion chief. One firefighter sustained a minor injury.
The Alhambra Fire Department received a call about the fire at 5:22 p.m. from a neighbor, said Bray. Firefighters put the fire out at around 6:30 p.m. Fire Departments from Arcadia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, South Pasadena and San Marino also responded to the incident.
Two homes at Commonwealth Avenue also sustained minor damage, as did several palm trees on Granada Avenue, with embers spread by dry, windy weather.
According to Bray, the Alhambra Fire Department is currently investigating the cause of the fire, with one cause being considered was an issue with electrical wiring.
Witnesses described seeing flames and smoke around 5:30 p.m. “The flames were pretty high,” said Eileen Acosta, who lives on nearby Garfield Avenue.
Rob Gorris, who lives on corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Cordova Street first smelled the smoke. “Something is wrong,” he said to his wife, before going outside and seeing the smoke.
Romelia Salinas owns a house on Granada Avenue where a palm tree caught on fire. She described getting a text message from her husband on her way home from work. He had been alerted by their son who goes to University of California at Santa Barbara. A neighbor had texted the son after seeing the palm tree on fire.
Luckily, firefighters responding to the Hidalgo Avenue fire were able to quickly put out the fire in her front yard. Neighbors also tried to help. “I’m very fortunate that the firefighters were here and that our neighbors were here,” she said.
Salinas said that her husband was trying to convince her to cut down the palm trees in their front yard. “I said, ‘I don’t know, it goes with the style of the house,'” she said. She added that the palm trees probably saved their houme from catching on fire, a Craftsman bungalow dating back to 1914.
Salinas said that her family would remove dried palm fronds on their trees from now on to reduce the risk of fire.
Updated on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 10:23 a.m. with comments from Alhambra Fire Department Battalion Chief Mitch Bray.