H-SANTA BARBARA

Jun 6, 2011 9:52 PM by Ariel Wesler

Two injured in Santa Barbara warehouse fire

A three alarm warehouse fire in Santa Barbara this morning injured two people, including a firefighter.

It started just after 10:30 at a Vasari Plaster and Stucco in the 100 block of Santa Barbara Street. Police closed off the Yanonali Street between Garden Street and Santa Barbara Street while firefighters fought back flames.

It took more than 30 firefighters nearly an hour to contain the fire that started at this plaster warehouse in Santa Babara. Joe Handerhan runs a business across the street.

"It was just a little bit of smoke at first and then they came running out of the building and we all ran across with hoses and fire extinguishers, but it was too late," Handerhan said.

He's no stranger to major fire damage.

"We do demolition and fire restoration work," he said.

But this fire hit a little too close to home.

"We put people on our roof keeping our roof wet, so the ashes didn't burn our building down," Handerhan said.

One firefighter was treated for a back injury and the owner of the building was sent to the hospital with burn injuries.

"The owner was trying to put the fire out. His hair got singed and he got burns on his face," Handerhand said.

The damage to the 3000 square foot building was so severe, firefighters took a defensive approach for safety reasons and focused on keeping the fire away from other businesses.

"The building was in partial collapse, so they did not attempt an interior attack immediately," said Pat McElroy with Santa Barbara City Fire.

His entire department responded along with a fire crew from Montecito.

"With the size of this structure and the amount of fire involved, so far, we're very very pleased with the light amount of injury," McElroy said.

Handerhan says the stucco and plaster company has been there for a couple years. A dog was also rescued from the building. Because of the intensity of this fire, it will take crews time to figure out how it started. No word yet on the total cost of the damage from that fire.

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