SUNSET BEACH (CBS/AP) — A fire has destroyed one beachfront home and damaged two others in the Sunset Beach area of Orange County.

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.

sunset beach collapse Fire Damages 3 Sunset Beach Waterfront Homes

(credit: CBS)

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.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (35)
  1. Susan Jones says:

    I’m in Lassen County and was talking to Mom in San Juan Capistrano and she was watching the channel 2 news and was giving me a blow by blow account. Thanks. She told me about Double thanks

  2. STark CherylBryan says:

    My Niece lives close by, and she says there is a 3rd house involved…OMG!!!

  3. steve says:

    Why would laura diaz take comments from the on scene reporter and then ask the fire professional on the line saying that serene believed that wind was a factor in the fire and fighting the fire but she (laura) did not believe that was true…and asked…what do you think? Whether they..laura and seren get along is not important, verbally disagreeing and basically saying she (laura) did not believe her (serene) opinion on the air???? Not professional and not cool. Its obvious there is an onshore breeze and Laura is not a weather professional..(or she would be a meteorologist) and should have kept her mouth shut.

    1. ted says:

      Steve, shut up.

  4. Doug says:

    I live in Sunset beach the wind has been pretty strong here all day.

    1. Don Rodriguez says:

      Pure BAFOONERY firefighting tactics by the OCFA.I am a professional firefighter
      and this makes my hair stand on end…I saw this from the start…and BNO , the wind was not a factor…firefighting BASICS and an agressive interior attack would have put this fire out,PERIOD.

      1. Chad says:


        If the fire was room and content when they arrived on scene and they ventilated improperly allowing the fire to spread that rapidly then I may agree with you. But it is my understanding that they were not on scene until the fire had vented itself and involved the structural members themselves and fully involved the structure. If that is the case, you my friend are dead wrong because at that point it is a defensive fire with the main objective being exposure protection.

      2. ted says:

        Don, shut up.

      3. jackercracker says:

        @Don — nice monday morning quarterbacking

    2. s m says:

      Sunset Beach is not covered by OCFA. Huntington Beach now covers it. If OCFA was there its because HB was busy and OCFA had to respond from another city.
      OCFA Station Three in Sunset closed down long ago. If your a firefigheter in the area you should know that Don.

      1. Don says:

        No I am not a fireman there but I grew up in HB so I am familiar with the area fire dept.s.I was not aware that HB finally took that over finally…..I’am in support of my brother firemen NO MATTER WHAT,but I am entitled to be critical ….

      2. don robertson says:

        sm,, you dont know what your talking about,, hbfd was first on scene; however, when ocfa arrived, they took charge. HB is not yet the handling agency

  5. connor says:

    My friend has an iphone and we heard everything about what was going on

  6. Fred says:

    anyone know if PCH closure is still in effect?

  7. s m says:

    Sunset Beach is not covered by OCFA. Huntington Beach now covers it. If OCFA was there its because HB was busy and OCFA had to respond from another city.
    OCFA Station 3 in Sunset closed down long ago. If your a firefigheter in the area you should know that Don.

  8. RichardYoung says:

    Very Suspicious Fire, the House was on the market for the last two months but they were asking almost twice what it was worth. They were asking about $2.7 million but it only appraised for $1.6 million. I really hope they investigate the owners to see if they did this on purpose, as far as i know the house has been abandoned for 2 months. I really hope no firefighters were injured because my brother is one, shame on the greedy owners.

    1. LS says:

      the house is on redfin, the inside looks like it’s made out of firewood! I think it’s a foreclosure or a short sale.

    2. Mike Craig Williamson says:

      I was at that location about 1 pm today. I walked from the parking lot to the water on the path which is to the right 2 houses over. When I got out of my car I noticed a truck with what looked like lighting equipment and a bunch of people standing around going in & out of the house. I walked to the water and back. As I got to the path I could hear what sounded like someone having sex. When I looked over I could see a girl signaling to someone on the patio to be quiet. Then a guy stood up and looked in my direction. Put it this way, they weren’t filming a Disney movie! 4 hours later as I was heading back up route 1 from Newport you could see the smoke for miles. When we passed, sure enough the porn house was on fire.

    3. Darrin says:

      shame on you for assuming such a thing. Did you ever stop to think that everyone is not as miserable as you. It was a rental property you moron with residents who lost everything. Get your facts straight you moron

      1. LS says:

        Was Darrin one of the porn actors?

    4. NmP123 says:

      You really shouldn’t assume anything unless you actually know what is going on … The house was for sale YES but the now Divorced Owners were renting it out to some very dear friends of mine and THEY LOST EVERYTHING THEY HAD!!! Richard Young you should look at it as a tragic accident the owners lost the home they were trying to sell but renting out for the money yes but the renters who lived there LOST EVERYTHING they had THANK GOD they all survived and no one was injured! You Jerk! Nothing Suspicious about anything it was an ACCIDENT a BBQ got blown over! SHAME ON YOU!

  9. Miranda says:

    I live just past 5th street. PCH is still closed and probably will be until they get all the houses under control.

  10. Jon says:

    do we know the exact address? I am thinking the next door house is our friends and we cannot reach them by cellphone

    1. Robert says:

      Jon, I spoke with a friend that knows this family, that friend spoke with a family member up in Washington, whom confirmed that it was a family members home.

  11. Brandon says:

    I work in Huntington Harbor and there was at least 30 fire engines i saw going down Warner to pch HBFD and so many others responded.Newport beach FD responded to a call in the Harbor and got lost 2 times, luckily another truck found where the call came from but it was still longer then i would want to wait if my life was on the line!!!!

  12. P says:

    s m – actually sunset IS still covered by OCFA. Annexation is being held up in court and until resolved will continue to be OCFA. Station 3 was a reserve station closed by OCFA. If it was Huntington you would have seen a HB public info officer being interviewed.

    1. Don says:

      Thanks dude…thats what I thought….I think the guys from Seal Beach were first in on that one,because of the Telesquirt I saw pumping at full capacity at least 1000gpm…they are at OCFA #44…I’m gonna get the skinny from my buds at HBFD…

  13. SB Resident says:

    You are an idiot ! There were small children in that home and How dare you post such a disgusting thing! You dont know what you are talking about some really good people just lost everything they had and their kids lost their home and all their belongings! MORON!

    1. Mike Craig Williamson says:

      just reporting what I saw. So the film crew was there why? Youre right shame on me for being disgusting while the Adult Film Industry thrives in your back yard! MORON!

  14. SnStBch Resident says:

    Amazing and Terrifying footage shot by someone caught in the heart of the fire!

  15. seeley says:


  16. Mac says:

    HBFD has primary coverage of Sunset Beach. They arrived on scene first, began fighting fire and protecting the exposure to the south. The first arriving BC was from OCFA, who took command of the incident. This was a joint firefighting operation between HBFD, OCFA, FVFD, and NBFD.

    Hell of a job guys, especially with significant winds, and structures six feet apart.

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