EL CENTRO, Calif. - Firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire on 700 block of Olive Avenue in El Centro earlier this morning.
The fire appears to have started in an abandoned home before it spread to nearby apartments, but the investigation is ongoing.
The fire broke out shortly after 9 a.m., when our news crew arrived on scene various crews were working to put out the fire.
We also spoke to a witness who says he had to pound on his neighbor's door to wake him up.
Oscar Castillo of El Centro tells us that he first heard explosions, then saw the house on fire, he quickly ran to alert his neighbor who was sleeping and told him to get out, that the apartments were catching fire.
“We immediately called a second alarm which brought in imperial county and some off duty personnel from El Centro. We got an immediate handle on it but because of the spread we called it a third alarm,” said Jason Bandaruk, Fire Engineer with El Centro Fire Dept.
Multiple units were called to fight this fire including El Centro Fire, Imperial County Fire, Holtville Fire, Calexico Fire, Brawley Fire, NAF and firefighters from Centinela Prison.
“We did not see anybody when we arrived on scene and after our searches we have not found anybody yet,” explained Bandaruk.
Officials are investigating whether the house was vacant at the time, they say they will be talking with IID and utility companies to find out if power or gas was connected to the home.
“We had four apartments, 721 olive, that were affected and then we had two single family units to the west, 741 and 739 olive, that were also affected,” added Bandaruk.
Firefighters tell us the results from the full investigation will take some time but if anybody has any information they are asked to call the El Centro Fire Department.