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Major 4-Alarm Blaze at Santa Clara Condo Construction Site Extinguished

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) -- A major fire at a condominium construction site in Santa Clara was extinguished as of late Friday afternoon, Santa Clara fire officials announced.

The four-alarm blaze broke out around 11 a.m. Friday at the 1890 El Camino Real Residential Project, a housing construction site that was about 25 percent complete, according to the fire department.

Firefighters arrived to find the four-story structure engulfed in flames. Public safety officials evacuated residents from about 10 nearby houses. Fire Chief Bill Kelly said first responders went door to door to alert residents.

Kelly said since the winds were light, firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to those homes.

Fire crews declared the fire under control at about 12:20 p.m. and contained by 2 p.m. One worker at the construction site suffered an injury not considered life-threatening and was brought to a hospital for treatment.

Kelly said the worker escaped the fire by jumping, which caused the injury.

As of about 4:30 p.m., firefighters were still at the scene to monitor hot spots throughout the structure and were expected to remain there overnight.

Kelly said the residents who were evacuated would be able to return home Friday night.

El Camino Real will remain closed overnight between Lincoln Street and Scott Boulevard. Kelly said firefighters are concerned about the structure collapsing, but opening the street is a priority because it's a heavily traveled road.

The construction project, named Anantara Villas, was approved for 56 condominiums. It was in the rough framing stage, according to fire officials.

Police said officers detained a person of interest in the fire when officers were at the scene. The person was released Friday afternoon and police were not planning to seek charges against him.

Santa Clara officials were forced to call for mutual aid as the fire was raging while firefighters were forced to take a defensive position due to the intensity of the flames and the collapse of part of the structure.

At the height of the battle, there were 10 engines and three trucks on the scene.

Santa Clara construction site fire
Santa Clara construction site fire (CBS)

"It happened so fast," Chris Reynolds, an electrician who was working on the building and getting ready to go to lunch when the fire broke out, told the San Jose Mercury News. "I saw people running down the stairs...You could feel the heat."

Police said the fire is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective James Wright at (408) 615-4829.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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