Fire breaks out at famous Brookdale Inn

August 19, 2009 12:12:36 AM PDT
Another fire broke out in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but this one started in the legendary Brookdale Inn and then spread to the brush surrounding the property.

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The fire started at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday evening just as people were returning from work, or from a day of sightseeing, when the realized the historical inn was on fire.

The fire ripped through the apartment portion of the Brookdale Inn and Spa. It destroyed the two story building, with 27 units in all, and left more than 50 people homeless.

"I was taking the shower, someone knocked on door said 'Fire! Fire!' I come in running, put on my clothes, I came outside and I see the fire all over the building," said Arnold Fonseca, a resident.

"It was brutal. As soon as I came out, I saw the flames and they were licking out over the roof and they caught on a tree and the tree went up to the top. We're talking like 100 feet. It was really bad," said Blaine Yates, a resident.

The fire started and ended in the back of the inn. The area is currently under renovation. The blaze moved quickly through the apartment building, but a fire wall stopped it from over taking the entire inn.

The Brookdale was built in 1890 and is considered a haunted landmark and tourist attraction. President Hoover as well as Marilyn Monroe once stayed here. The historical portion of the hotel remains intact and untouched by the flames.

But many residents weren't as lucky. Sabdi Fonseca woman says she was surprised to come home to a burning building. She couldn't save anything and is now homeless. Fire fighters had the blaze under control in an hour because of the nearby Lockheed Fire.

"It could have been a lot worse. The Lockhead Fire occurred just above this location and CAL FIRE our air tankers made air drops to protect the wild land" Scott Jalbert from CAL FIRE.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Incidentally, there was a fire in the same part of the hotel started two years ago. It's not clear how that fire started either.

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