Brush fire forces evacuation of hospital at Camp Pendleton

Smoke rises from a fire at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
Smoke rises from a fire at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

A brush fire at Camp Pendleton has burned more than 1000 acres and forced evacuation of a housing area and the base hospital, officials said Saturday.

Patients at the 61-bed hospital were transferred to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside and the Naval Medical Center San Diego after a power outage at the building, 12 miles from the main gate of the base.

By 6 p.m., 17 patients had been transferred to the San Diego hospital and five to Tri-City, officials said.


The base hospital provides medical care for active-duty personnel and their families. Marines and sailors with major injuries from combat and others needing advanced, specialized care are treated at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

The fire broke out about 12:45 p.m. in the Lake O'Neill area of the sprawling base. Some 230 residents from the O'Neill Heights housing area were evacuated to the Paige Fieldhouse. The hospital overlooks Lake O'Neill.

Minor damage was reported to four buildings, but there were no injuries.

More than 200 firefighters from the Camp Pendleton Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were battling the blaze. They were assisted by six air tankers and five helicopters.

Smoke was seen from Interstate 5 and parts of northern San Diego County. But officials said the fire poses no danger to Fallbrook, the closest civilian community.

The fire was listed as 15% contained, but no estimate was given when full containment will be achieved.

No cause for the blaze has been determined.


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