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Fire Destroys Santa Clara Homes Under Construction

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Firefighters on scene of a five-alarm fire near El Camino Real and Scott Blvd. in Santa Clara on May 9, 2012. (CBS)

Firefighters on scene of a five-alarm fire near El Camino Real and Scott Blvd. in Santa Clara on May 9, 2012. (CBS)

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SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Santa Clara firefighters extinguished a five-alarm fire that consumed several under-construction townhouses on Wednesday night, and damaged several nearby buildings, a fire battalion chief said.

The fire was first reported at 10:05 p.m. in the 1900 block of Hillebrant Place, Battalion Chief Mason Weirshauser said.

First responders found heavy fire, and firefighters immediately started a defensive operation to prevent the fire from spreading, Weirshauser said.

A total of four alarms arrived on the scene, and a fifth alarm was called to cover the rest of the city. The San Jose and the Santa Clara County fire departments provided mutual aid.

The wind spread heavy embers away from the area, and police patrolled downwind to make sure that no other fires started, Weirshauser said.

Around six wooden frames of under-construction townhouses burned in the blaze, and residents were evacuated from the completed buildings nearby that were threatened by the fire.

Two occupied neighboring buildings sustained minor fire damage, and some smoke and water damage. The fire also spread to several vehicles in the parking lot.

The fire was under control by around 11:30 p.m.

Residents of three neighboring buildings, which are three-story buildings with between four and five units each, could not return to their homes that night, Weirshauser said.

The Red Cross arrived on the scene to assist those residents with temporary housing, but all of them made other arrangements, Weirshauser said.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire has not been determined, and firefighters will remain on the scene overnight and throughout today, beginning their investigation at first light.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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