Santa Barbara fire threatens homes and news station

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A nearly 10-acre fire that scorched a hill in Santa Barbara Thursday night caused the evacuations of homes and the KEYT newsroom.

Shortly before 9 a.m., 911 callers reported a vegetation fire burning in the TV Hill area and spreading rapidly, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Officials ordered residents to evacuate homes between Loma Alta and Miramonte drives and Cliff Drive and Vista Del Pueblo. KEYT employees also evacuated their newsroom as flames came close to the building. 

Firefighters stopped forward progress of the blaze late Thursday night or early Friday morning. Firefighters remained on scene overnight and were still mopping up hotspots after sunrise.

Officials lifted evacuation orders at about 12:30 a.m. 

The blaze damaged two homes. No homes were destroyed, and no injuries were reported. 

Initially, fire officials stated the blaze had burned 20 acres. They later revised down the size of the fire to under 10 acres.

Fire officials say the cause of the blaze is under investigation. 

KEYT, though, reports authorities took a person into custody below Loma Alta Drive. Arson investigators were seen in an area believed to be a homeless encampment.

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