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UPDATE: Canyon Country fire forces evacuations

Adds details throughout; fire fully contained

Posted: January 15, 2013 10:30 a.m.
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:52 a.m.

A firefighter cuts through a façade in a strip mall at Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway in Canyon Country on Tuesday.

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Fire at a strip mall in Canyon Country this morning prompted the evacuation of half a dozen businesses, according to fire officials and workers displaced by the incident.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Los Angeles County firefighters responded to reports of smoke coming from the roof of the Boot Barn Plaza on the southeast corner of Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road, said Battalion Chief Greg Hisel.

Firefighters concentrated their efforts on smoke coming from inside the Siam Rice restaurant in the middle of seven businesses, three on each side.

No one was hurt in the blaze, Hisel said.

“We had a call of a restaurant fire,” he said. “When we arrived we found smoke coming out of the restaurant.”
Firefighters with hoses doused the restaurant with water inside and out.

“We don’t know the cause and it’s under investigation,” Hisel said.

The fire and subsequent smoke created immediate concern for the people working at businesses near the restaurant.

A woman who said she was a restaurant employee was crying as she watched firefighters battling the fire.

About 20 people who work at businesses on either side of the restaurant gathered in the center of the parking lot watching firefighters work.

Many described Siam Rice as a fixture at the plaza for more than 10 years.

“It was scary,” said Wendy Ramirez, who works at a law office next door to the restaurant.

“I heard a loud bang and then the guy from the copy shop came over and said, ‘Are you OK?’ and then he said, ‘The building’s on fire,’” she said.

The man told her he saw flames inside the restaurant, which was closed at the time of the incident.

“We share a wall,” Ramirez said, referring to the restaurant. “It (the bang) felt like it was right behind the wall.”

Richard Jurie, who works at the Subway restaurant a couple of doors north of Siam Rice, said he smelled smoke before the commotion started.

“I was just doing my job and then I got a smell like ash, like smoke,” he said. “One of our employees went to the back and saw a lot of smoke.

“I ran out the front and I saw smoke coming from the restaurant.”

Jurie asked the Siam Rice workers if they were OK.

“No, not really,” said a man who worked there.

Firefighters called a second alarm after arrival at the fire and had it fully contained by about 10:30 a.m.
Soledad Canyon Road eastbound remained closed during fire mop-up.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

 

 

 

 

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