In Imperial Beach Thursday morning, September 24, a fire at 1325 Grove Avenue destroyed two apartment units and displaced six adults and three children. Fire engines from Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, and San Diego responded.
Chula Vista Battalion 51 fire chief Jeff Peter, the onsite incident commander, explained, “The cities have an automatic-aid agreement, and a multi-family structure fire like this calls for four engines and two chiefs to respond. Imperial Beach, which does not have a 24-hour chief, was first on the scene and reported flames from the first-floor unit lapping up to the second floor.”
Brandon Wilkerson, who lives in the building, told a news crew on the scene, “We didn’t know there was a fire until we heard the fire trucks, and when I looked out my door, I saw all these hoses on the ground and saw my friend Tony’s apartment on fire. The flames from the windows were jumping five feet in the air.”
Chief Peter said the origin of the fire was food left cooking unattended on the first-floor stove. “This is a good time to remind the public that it is very important that before you leave home or go to bed at night you make sure the stove is turned off.”
The tenant who was doing the cooking returned home shortly after the fire was out and was upset. After gaining her composure and smoking a cigarette, she complained to a neighbor, “The firemen put a big-ass hole in the wall and kicked in my door.”