A fire broke out early Monday morning approximately at 2:25 am at the Goodwill center on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 26th Street. The Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) dispatched 1 engine company to an automatic alarm, immediately after at 2:26 am it was upgraded to a commercial structure fire, a total of 6 engines, 1 Ladder Truck, 1 Light/Air Rescue Unit, 1 Battalion unit, and 1 BLS Ambulance responded and worked under the command and control of the battalion command team. The Santa Monica Fire Department requested additional resources from the neighboring Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD). After assessing the incident further, LAFD units were released before arriving on the scene. There was an apartment complex behind the commercial structure which residents were evacuated from for safety if the fire spread. The structure where the fire was had furniture and clothing helped fueled the fire making the flames jump at least 2 stories tall. The Santa Monica Police Department also responded to the scene to assist with traffic control and closing the area for fire crews to work.
Information provided by a spokesperson from the SMFD stated that while on the scene, crews initiated a ‘Transitional Attack’ on the fire, starting from the exterior and ‘transitioning’ to the interior with their hose lines. Simultaneously, five firefighters from the Truck ascended the Aerial Ladder to the top of the structure. There, they used chainsaws to cut holes in the roof which allowed them to provide vertical ventilation and a coordinated attack on the fire. Later arriving companies performed operations such as cutting open doors (Forcible Entry), ensuring no occupants were within the structure (Search/Rescue), protected property (Salvage), and ensured all materials were extinguished (Overhaul). Three on-call Fire Investigators also responded in order to perform a thorough investigation of this incident. The quick decision-making and timely efforts of the 19 Firefighters on the scene, undoubtedly limited the spread of fire within the commercial structure that is doing business as the Goodwill.
Residents in the area stated that they were awoken in the middle of the night to a homeless man screaming "fire, fire!" in an attempt to notify residents of a fire and to evacuate just in case the fire spread to an additional structure. Some residents thank the homeless man for getting them out of their houses to evacuate to somewhere safe.
The Santa Monica Fire Department has determined that the fire was set intentionally and is making it an arson case. The building was saved but the business was a total loss from the fire. Santa Monica Fire Department is currently investigating the cause of the fire.
The investigation is still ongoing at this time, it's unclear if the Santa Monica Police Department is assisting with the investigation at this time.