A brush fire broke out in a populated section of Newhall Monday afternoon, burning apartments at three apartment buildings, threatening 50 structures and prompting several evacuations. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters, seen by news helicopters positioned on the rooftops of the two-story apartment buildings, doused the buildings and the charred brush next to them, halting all forward movement of the fire within 90 minutes.
At 5:15 p.m., the Railroad Fire had threatened the Terrace Apartments off of Valle Del Oro Drive in Newhall.
The three-alarm fire was reported burning between Newhall Avenue and Dockweiler Drive and between Sierra Highway and Valle Del Oro.
By 5:30 p.m., there were plumes of heavy smoke coming from the apartment complex but no visible sign of flame.
The first apartment affected by the fire was on Trumpet Drive, with smoke showing from the roof. Firefighters, including more than a half-dozen positioned on the roof of the Trumpet Drive apartment building, battled through thick smoke.
Fire then broke out in a second apartment building on Alder Drive, and at a third apartment building in the same complex.
No one was reported inside either burning apartment building.
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials reported a total of 10 acres had burned, and that three structures had been “impacted.”
The Red Cross set up a shelter at Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, off of Golden Valley Road.
Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station evacuated homes and apartments in the areas near Trumpet, Alder Drive, Dockweiler Drive and Via Montana.
“One of our officers, on a routine patrol, sees a large plume of smoke coming from a structure,” said Officer Josh Greengard of the California Highway Patrol.
“He immediately goes inside the (Trumpet Drive) building and the deputies of the (Santa Clarita Valley) Sheriff’s Station start evacuating the building,” he said.
“I was talking to one deputy who said he (CHP officer) was drenched in sweat from working at getting the people out of there,” he said.
“People in the area should not wait for a door knock alerting them to an evacuation — if they see smoke they should leave the area,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station.
As the Railroad Fire moved closer to homes, additional first responder units were dispatched to the scene, including the SCV Search and Rescue team and the California Highway Patrol to assist with traffic control, Miller said.
Firefighters were first dispatched at 4:15 p.m., to the 20900 block of Via Estrella, between Via Montana and Via Canon, when the brush fire near the apartment complex was described as 3 acres and moving toward homes and apartments.
“About 50 structures were reported threatened,” said Marvin Lim, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The fire reached the front porch of the apartment building on Alder Drive at 5 p.m.
This is a breaking news story and more information will be added as it’s available.