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Costa Mesa firefighters battle early morning blaze at occupied commercial building

Costa Mesa firefighters doused a blaze that broke out early Tuesday at a commercial building on MacArthur Boulevard.
(Courtesy of Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department)

Multiple units in a commercial mixed-use building on Costa Mesa’s MacArthur Boulevard were damaged early Tuesday morning as firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze called in by a witness working on the property at the time of the incident.

Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department spokesman Capt. Joe Noceti said a man hired to keep watch of a building located at 1515 MacArthur Blvd. reported the fire at around 3:30 a.m.

Crews responded to the 20-unit building in about five minutes.

A burned out unit in an industrial building in Costa Mesa was one of several that caught fire on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“There was already fire through the roof of this mixed-use occupancy center,” Noceti said, estimating it took about 20 to 25 minutes for more than 60 firefighters to extinguish the flames.

An unknown number of people who had been occupying the units had self-evacuated by the time responders arrived at the location, the captain said.

“There were people there. [But] there were no injuries,” Noceti said.

An hours-long standoff between protesters and police took place Monday night at South Coast Plaza, with demonstrators asking police to “take a knee.”

Three units in the building were ravaged by fire, while another two sustained smoke and water damage.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the possible cause of the incident was being reviewed by the department’s arson investigator.

Noceti said officials believe there is no connection between the fire and a demonstration held several hours earlier at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza, where a small crowd broke a citywide curfew to protest Minneapolis police officers’ involvement in the May 25 death of unarmed black resident George Floyd.

“There’s nothing to suggest a connection,” he said.

Propane tanks are part of the wreckage from a structure fire in Costa Mesa on Tuesday, June 2.
Propane tanks are part of the wreckage from a structure fire in Costa Mesa on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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