Firefighters contend with 3-alarm blaze, assisted by high winds, at Huntington Harbour residence

A three-alarm house fire broke out Tuesday on Huntington Harbour's Venture Drive.
A three-alarm house fire that broke out Tuesday on Huntington Harbour’s Venture Drive was aided by high winds, but no one was home at the time, officials said.
(Courtesy of the Huntington Beach Fire Department)

High winds fueled a three-alarm structure fire that broke out at a Huntington Harbour residence Tuesday afternoon, sending flames into the attic of the home and causing massive amounts of smoke in the area.

Huntington Beach Fire Department spokesman Eric Blaska said multiple calls came in just after 4 p.m., including calls from witnesses who saw smoke issuing from the house off Venture Drive and called 911.

“With the high winds, we’re protecting the houses around it. Blaska said from the scene Tuesday while crews continued to battle the blaze. “We’re worried about embers flying off from the roof — [the fire] is pretty stubborn, and the attic is pretty big.”

Huntington Beach firefighters responded Tuesday to a three-alarm house fire at a Trinidad Island home off Venture Drive.
(Courtesy of the Huntington Beach Fire Department)

At one point during the fight, embers from the property were blown onto the roof of a home across the street and had to be immediately extinguished.

Blaska said the fire burned holes into the shake-shingled roof of the first residence, preventing firefighters from climbing atop the structure to provide ventilation and aid them in their fight.

“It would be unsafe for us to put someone on the roof,” he added.

Huntington Beach Fire Department officials clarified Wednesday three residents were inside the house when they heard the fire alarm go off and called 911. All three managed to escape unharmed, and firefighters later rescued two housecats and one rabbit from inside.

Huntington Beach firefighters rescue a cat Tuesday from a Huntington Harbour house fire.
Huntington Beach firefighters rescue a cat Tuesday from a Huntington Harbour house fire.
(Courtesy of the Huntington Beach Fire Department)

The cause of the fire was still being investigated early Tuesday evening as portions of inland Orange County remained under a high-wind warning issued earlier that day by the National Weather Service.

That advisory indicated that northeast winds from 25 to 35 mph could be anticipated until 10 p.m. Wednesday with gusts up to 60 mph and isolated gusts as strong as 80 mph.

Residents were warned of the potential for downed trees or power lines, in addition to possible power outages.

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1:13 PM, Jan. 20, 2021: This article was updated with additional information from Huntington Beach fire officials, who said three people were inside the residence when the fire broke out but managed to flee to safety.