A small fire inside a storage closet in Westmont College’s Page Hall forced the evacuation of nearly 200 first-year students Monday afternoon. While the fire was quickly knocked down by sprinklers, one student sustained burn injuries to his feet and was transported to the hospital. Efforts to accommodate displaced students overnight in Murchison Gym were scrapped after fire investigators determined that there would be no danger in restoring electrical power to the building. “I’m not exactly sure how the fire started,” said Scott Craig, the college’s manager of media relations.
On the wildfire front, Montecito and Summerland dodged a flaming bullet during the severe Santa Ana winds on September 23, as a part-time resident in the Bella Vista Drive foothills called 9-1-1 when arcing power lines sparked a brushfire beneath a row of eucalyptus trees. As embers blew into the Picay Creek drainage, the man fought the flames with a shovel and hoe, according to Jackie Jenkins, a public information officer with Montecito Fire Protection District. Responding agencies included firefighting crews from Montecito, Carpinteria-Summerland, Santa Barbara city and county, and Los Padres National Forest, plus personnel from California Highway Patrol, the Sheriff’s Office, and Southern California Edison. The small blaze was quickly extinguished.