Fire Sweeps Through New Condos in Anaheim Hills : Damage: Soldering torch started accidental blaze. Meanwhile, hikers' campfire spreads over 30 acres in Ventura County before being contained.


A fire started by a plumber's soldering torch swept through more than 32 condominium units in Orange County on Saturday, and a fire ignited by an illegal campfire spread over 30 acres in Ventura County before being mostly contained.

The wind-driven fire in Anaheim Hills, which authorities said started accidentally, destroyed 20 condominium units under construction and damaged more than a dozen newly completed units nearby, most of which were occupied.

An Anaheim firefighter was treated for difficulty with his breathing, but there were no other injuries reported in the fire, which was spread quickly by winds of 15 to 20 m.p.h. and dry conditions. The fire started about 8:45 a.m. on a construction site in the Summit Renaissance condominium complex, said Steve Magliocco, Anaheim Fire Department division chief.

Flames ignited the unfinished units, and winds pushed the fire toward buildings about 100 feet away, Magliocco said. The occupied condominiums had opened in October.

Eight people were displaced from damaged units, Orange County Red Cross officials said. Some sought shelter through the Red Cross, and others were taken in by family or friends.

It took about 40 firefighters from Anaheim, Orange, Fullerton and Orange County fire departments nearly 50 minutes to control the four-alarm fire, Magliocco said. Complex owner Nelson Chung estimated damage to the buildings would be $2 million to $3 million.

The Ventura blaze was started inadvertently by two teen-agers who built a campfire to try to keep warm on an early morning hike, fire officials and witnesses said.

The 16-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl had been climbing rocky terrain in the hills above the Camarillo Springs Golf Course when they built the fire just after 8 a.m., said Bill Little, a security supervisor at the golf course. Little, who apprehended the pair, said they initially tried to put out the flames but soon gave up and scrambled down the steep mountainside to safety.

Fire officials said the teen-agers--whose names were not released because of their age--were cited for setting an illegal campfire and for trespassing on private property and then released.

The fire was contained by nightfall, firefighters said.

Special correspondent Matthew Mosk and Times staff writer Josh Meyer contributed to this story.

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