Fire rips through medical center in Templeton - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Fire rips through medical center in Templeton

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A fire ripped through a medical center in Templeton destroying a pathology lab. 

The blaze broke out at La Posada Medical Center just after one Saturday afternoon. Fire crews were able to save one side of the building but the other side is a complete loss.

"It's heartbreaking," said Katrina Smith, Central Coast Pathology Laboratory Manager. "Lot of blood, sweat and tears by myself and all of my staff."      

Central Coast Pathology was one of the offices destroyed by flames. Smith spent at least half a decade working there. "Lots of memories. I started my career in that building as a phlebotomist so lots and lots of years," she said. 

Doctors offices and a massage therapy center were also part of the medical center complex where the fire broke out. Massage Therapist, Sharon Rae was one of the only people in the building getting ready to give a massage to a client. "And as I opened the door, I said, 'I smell smoke and it looks cloudy outside,'" said Rae. 

She then saw the bushes were on fire and flames were attacking the building as well. She immediately called 9-1-1. "It's just a scary day today. I never think it would happen. It happened two years ago in July," she continued.

The Chief of Templeton Fire said the triple digit temperatures made fighting Saturday afternoon's fire much more difficult. "Fighting a commercial structure fire, the guys are wearing their full structural PPE- personal protective equipment and so they overheat rapidly," said Chief Bill White.

Fire officials say the blaze started in the roof area and spread to the attic. The front part of the building partially collapsed-- trapping fire underneath the roof debris-- also proving to be a challenge. "So crews are having to work harder to remove debris to get to the actual seed of the fire," said Chief White. 

At the end of the day, Katrina Smith is grateful no one got hurt. "I feel grateful to the firefighters. It's sad to see our building go but it could have been so much worse," she concluded. 

No one was injured in the fire. The cause is under investigation.

There were a total of 15 engines and two ladder trucks at the scene. At least 50 firefighters from multiple agencies helped put out the fire.

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