Cigarette Starts Fire in Underground Electrical Vault

Roy's Restaurant Evacuated Thursday Evening

Santa Barbara city firefighters respond to underground electrical vault fire (April 5, 2012)
Paul Wellman

A fire that sparked Thursday evening in an underground Edison electrical vault prompted the evacuation of Roy’s Restaurant at 7 West Carillo Street.

City firefighters sent two engines and one truck to the scene at around 6 p.m. after pressurized smoke was seen billowing out of a nearby manhole. The vault is located under the sidewalk directly in front of Roy’s.

A Santa Barbara city fire captain uses a thermal imaging camera as crews respond to an underground electrical vault fire (April 5, 2012)
Paul Wellman

Edison crews first suspected that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction, but after entering the vault and clearing the smoke, they determined a discarded cigarette started the small blaze. The cigarette, said fire officials, who quickly doused the fire, ignited tree litter and other debris that had accumulated in the vault.

No one was injured in the incident, and the damage to the vault was minimal, said firefighters. Roy’s patrons were allowed back to their tables once the incident was resolved.


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