Billows of smoke could be seen in the near distance, and as far as Monrovia, when a fire was discovered at the carport of Willow Apartments at 59 Esperanza Avenue this morning at 8:50 a.m.
The flames burned the top of the carport, spreading to nearby cars and leaving a total of four vehicles, including the original maintenance truck, damaged in its wake. As well, the scene was tinged with a chart, burnt smell as well as shattered glass and burnt rubber that lay in heaps on the floor. No deaths or injuries were reported.
“The maintenance guy came to work and then the car caught on fire,” said building manager Andrea Boomsma.
The man, Isauro Rios, was fixing a door outside of the apartment building; when he returned, he saw the maintenance truck on fire.
“I immediately called 9-1-1,” said Rios on the incident.
Within minutes, tenants were evacuated from the apartment and asked to wait outside of the building for a little over two hours.
“An alarm did go off, I was sleeping at the time,” remarked Diane Simons, a resident in the building who hobbled out of the building with a cast on her leg from a previous injury.
The Sierra Madre Fire Department and Police Department were alerted and rushed to the scene. A burned out 1980s model pickup truck could be seen in the parking area of the apartment building as firefighters continued to douse it with water shortly after 10 a.m. The fire was contained before 9:30 a.m.
“It started in the engine compartment and we’re not sure why it started,” said Sierra Madre Fire Chief Steve Heydorff. “We don’t think it’s related to arson.”
The fire erupted in a carport behind the apartment building, Sierra Madre Police officer Henry Amos said.
"It was a car fire in the carport of the location and I believe the structure caught fire as well," Amos said.
The cause of the blaze remained under investigation, Amos said. A perimeter of police tape was set up behind the building and both sides of Mariposa Avenue were blocked off to through traffic.