At 4:25 a.m. on Friday, May 20, 2016, the Ventura County Fire Communications center received multiple calls reporting a fire in the industrial area of Ventura near Market St. and Arundel Avenue. Reports lacked a physical location, but drivers on the 101 could see flames in the area. Fire units located a header of smoke and flames in the area far away from surface streets; it took several minutes to find the correct entrance into the facility and use forcible entry through gates and ultimately identify the source of the fire.
The fire was inside an 11.5 acre mini storage facility, housing over 1,000 units and is also home to motor home storage to the rear of the property. Fire investigators speculate the fire started in one of the motor homes to the rear of the yard that spread quickly to three other motor homes and also a four door SUV. Flames were estimated to be approximately 30 feet high and the heat generated from the fire melted the sides of 9 other motor homes that were approximately 15 feet in another row. Bordering the other side of the main fire was building that housed storage units. The structure took a significant amount of heat and eight units suffered blistered doors and damage to the fascia of the building, but did not spread into the building itself, only exposing the contents to minimal amounts of heat and smoke. Firefighters battled the blaze from two sides, performed utility control, performed forcible entry, and maintained a water supply through the operation. The main body of fire was knocked down within 20 minutes.
Preliminary damage estimates put at least 4 motor homes at a complete loss. The total fire loss including damage to the exposed property and vehicles is estimated to be $338,000, with a total saved value estimated to be $400,000. The property manager was contacted and met with Fire officials to assist with the investigation. Two operational camera systems were in the vicinity and Ventura City Fire Arson investigators and Ventura Police will be working together to review the footage and determine the fire cause.
No structures were deemed uninhabitable and the facility will remain open. If anyone has any information in regard to the fire they are encouraged to contact the Ventura Fire Department or the Ventura Police Department.