Firefighters are investigating a four-alarm Antioch apartment fire that broke out Friday night, sending three people to the hospital and displacing about 50 more.
Fireworks may have sparked a vegetation fire, Contra Costa Fire Protection District Capt. George Laing said, citing earlier reports of fireworks in the area. It appears the flames then spread to several structures, he noted.
The blaze was first reported around 10 p.m. in the 3900 block of Delta Fair Boulevard, Laing said.
Four people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and three were taken to the hospital. The fire also knocked down a power line, leaving some buildings in the vicinity without electricity.
It took the firefighters about an hour to get the flames under control, according to Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.
Officials escalated the fire to four alarms because it was still over 90 degrees when firefighters arrived on the scene. Crews are cognizant of the heat when fighting fires in the day, but at night, "it sneaks up on you," Marshall said. "You don’t think about it being a shot as it is and creating the problem that it creates."
Other challenges they faced were working in the cloak of darkness as well as a steep, slippery gully behind the building. Arson investigators will likely have to wait till the light is better to look at a possible cause, Marshall said.
Three buildings each with eight units — a total of 24 homes — were damaged. One of the structures was heavily burned, Marshall said.
Marshall also noted that it was not only the residents of the scorched buildings who were displaced. Others who found themselves without power also likely needed to find alternate accommodations as it was too hot to be without a fan or air conditioner.
The damaged caused by the fire is estimated at $990,000, Laing said.