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Huntington Beach brush fire damages daycare center and bank

A Huntington Beach daycare center and a bank were damaged Thursday after a brush fire started at Bartlett Park near Beach Boulevard and Adams Avenue.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department received a report of the fire around 10 a.m. amid winds gusting to about 30 mph, said Battalion Chief Jeff Lopez.

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Seventy children and 20 staff members were evacuated from nearby La Petite Academy of Huntington Beach, Lopez said. The daycare center sustained damage to its roof and attic. A U.S. Bank branch also sustained minor damage to its roof. No injuries were reported.

Also nearby are the historical Newland house and barn, which were unscathed.

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By 11 a.m., firefighters were mopping up hot spots and reviewing damage to the two structures. The fire burned about two acres. The cause is under investigation.

A Huntington Beach daycare center and a bank were damaged Thursday after a brush fire started at Bartlett Park near Beach Boulevard and Adams Avenue. (Video by Norm Olson)

"That first caller was really important," Lopez said. "It makes the difference between La Petite burning and minor damage."

Fourteen engine companies responded, including from Huntington Beach, the Orange County Fire Authority and the Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley and Newport Beach fire departments.

Initially, embers crossed Adams Avenue, threatening a gas station, Lopez said.

Neighbor Karen Barrett said she was in her bedroom when her daughter noticed the flames. She watched an OCFA helicopter make at least five water drops onto the fire along Cold Water Lane.

"If it hadn't been for the air drops, it could be still be burning," Barrett said.

Lydia Cisaruk, a spokeswoman for La Petite Academy, said employees evacuated the children when they saw smoke near the building. Everyone was out by the time it caught fire, she said. Students' families were notified and they picked up their children.

La Petite will be closed Friday and Monday for repairs and expects to reopen Tuesday, Cisaruk said. In the meantime, staff members are working to accommodate as many children as possible at a nearby sister school, she said.

DANIEL LANGHORNE is a contributor to Times Community News.

UPDATES:

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with Lydia Cisaruk's comments.

This article was originally published at 12:25 p.m.

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