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California

Massive fire erupts in Goleta building housing Santa Barbara Islamic Society

fire
Firefighters work to put out a three-alarm fire at a building in Goleta, Calif.
(Santa Barbara Fire Department)

Firefighters in Santa Barbara County were battling a three-alarm fire early Monday that broke out at a commercial building that includes a local Islamic Society.

The fire was reported about 9:15 p.m. Sunday in the 600 block of Ward Drive in Goleta, according to Daniel Christensen, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The two-story building is a 30,000-square-foot corrugated metal structure with several tenants, including a roofing company, a private storage facility and the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara.

Flames ripped through the building and about 50 firefighters from across the county were battling the blaze, said Mike Eliason, a Fire Department spokesman.

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Firefighters initially took an aggressive stance but adjusted to a defensive mode when “several small explosions were heard inside,” Christensen said.

It’s unclear what started the blaze. Investigators were on scene but unable to examine the building because the fire was still burning.

Eliason said that authorities had no indication that the Islamic Society or another business at the building was the source of the fire or targeted in arson.

“It’s still way too early,” Eliason said. “The fire’s not out yet.”

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No injuries were reported.

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