UPDATE (8:43 p.m.) – CHP confirms a fire at an apartment complex stemmed from a chase earlier in the day, and officers say the suspect is dead.
CHP says a driver was speeding, and officers tried to pull him over around 3 p.m., but he led them on a chase. Investigators say the man then parked his car in a restaurant parking lot, ran into an apartment complex, and went into an apartment where his girlfriend was. It’s unclear if his girlfriend lived in the apartment.
CHP officers found the car, which was registered to the owners of the apartment the man ran into. Investigators say it was registered to the mom of the man’s girlfriend.
Officers say the man barricaded himself and his girlfriend in the apartment. They say her parents later showed up and let officers inside.
At that point, investigators say the man lit a pile of clothes on fire on top of a bed, and then barricaded himself and his girlfriend inside a bathroom.
Officers had to leave because the flames were getting too dangerous.
They say the man died because of the fire, and his girlfriend was transported to a local hospital. She is expected to be okay.
Investigators say the man who died was in his early twenties.
A KSBY crew at the scene saw a firefighter being taken into an ambulance, but investigators didn’t have any information on why.
CHP, Santa Maria Police, and Santa Maria fire all responded to the scene.
More information is expected to be released Wednesday.
UPDATE (8:02 p.m. ) – Firefighters are releasing more information about a fire involving a suspect.
The fire department tweeted Tuesday night that firefighters responded to a structure fire involving a townhome earlier in the evening.
Firefighters say the fire was confined to the one unit, but five other units were attached to the one that was damaged. Firefighters say residents in all six units will be displaced until utilities are restored.
The Santa Maria Fire Departmentresponded to a structure fire involving one residential Town Home this evening. Damage was confined to one of six attached units. Residents of the six units have been displaced until utilities have been restored. SB and SLO County assisted. pic.twitter.com/tRaihc37hN
— Santa Maria Fire (@SMFDHQ) November 28, 2018
Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County firefighters also responded.
Santa Maria Police have the 600 block of Sunrise Drive taped off as they investigate a man allegedly barricading himself inside an apartment and attempting to light it on fire. Neighbors described to me a very grim scene of what they experienced before they evacuated @KSBY pic.twitter.com/KUGsmYYD0o
— Melissa Newman (@melnewmantv) November 28, 2018
Firefighters and CHP officers are at the scene of an apartment fire in Santa Maria.
Santa Maria fire responded to the scene at 610 Sunrise Drive just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters say CHP was at the scene about an hour before that.
Firefighters say the CHP is in charge of the investigation, and that officers went to the apartment complex looking for a suspect in an investigation. Firefighters say a fire then occurred that was related to the suspect.
Stick with KSBY for updates on this developing story.