The fire, which began in one multi-story home that collapsed about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, prompted authorities to close the Pacific Coast Highway between 22nd Street and 19th Street.
Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Greg McKeown says 100 firefighters are on the scene of the blaze which has been upgraded to a fourth alarm. Strong onshore winds quickly spread the flames.
One home was completely gutted and collapsed from the flames. Fire spread to the house next door, causing significant damage. A third house in the row of tightly packed homes received minor damage.
Firefighters were still fighting to control the blaze more than four hours after it began.
“It’s darkened down quite a bit, but there are still active flames,” Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion told the Orange County Register.
Firefighters were slowed by concern about the stability of the structures. “We have not been able to go inside due to the threat of collapse,” Concepcion told the Register.
Firefighters used as many as five aerial water streams to attack the flames from the outside of the structures.
McKeown says at least one person was treated for smoke inhalation.
Smoke from the blaze could be seen for miles and a portion of Pacific Coast Highway was closed for several hours.
Crews from the Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Newport Beach fire departments joined the Orange County Fire Authority to battle the flames.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
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