Suspect connected to 3-alarm fire at San Jose storage facility now in custody, officials confirm

Friday, June 16, 2023
Suspect connected to 3-alarm fire in SJ in custody, officials confirm
An arrest has been made in connection to a three-alarm fire that took place in San Jose Wednesday, the fire department has confirmed with ABC7 News.

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- An arrest has been made in connection to a three-alarm fire that took place in San Jose Wednesday, the fire department has confirmed with ABC7 News.

San Jose firefighters contained a three-alarm fire at a public storage facility in South San Jose Wednesday night, fire officials said.

The fire was reported at around 6:30 p.m. at Public Storage, 88 Blossom Hill Road. As of 7:15 p.m.

ABC7 News reporter Dustin Dorsey tweeted video a viewer sent him of a huge plume of black smoke rising from the fire. The viewer told him they heard what sounded like fireworks that shook their house before they saw the smoke.

Neighbors close to the fire say the explosions shook their homes. Roads nearby were closed and traffic was delayed as firefighters battled the fire.

John Henry lives near the scene and says he felt and heard the fire that sent ash miles away.

"Within one second you felt a big old jolt," Henry said. "I came running out to check in the living room. We opened the window and we see nothing but a bunch of fireworks going off."

Across the street from Henry's neighborhood Thursday, the aftermath of the explosion at the Public Storage on Blossom Hill and Cottle Roads.

MORE: 5 injured, 8 displaced in overnight fire at SF high-rise, firefighters say

Debris spread out across the property as people came to see what happened to their units.

"I have many antiques," storage facility tenant Ed Hmieleski said. "I have a 130-year-old piano and that's not too far from the door."

"We were trying to move up to the Sacramento area, and we put everything in there just for the meantime," storage facility tenant Ed Hmieleski said. "I've seen the drone footage. I've talked to the chief, and it's very unlikely that anything made it through."

Droneview7 video showed San Jose fire crews continuing to put out hotspots throughout the morning.

San Jose Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Cloutier says the two-story building with 40-50 units is a total loss and several of the surrounding buildings and units suffered serious damage due to flames, smoke and water.

MORE: Massive 3-alarm fire engulfs industrial building in SoCal

Cloutier says crews are still on-hand and will be throughout the weekend. On Thursday, crews continued putting out hotspots in the primary two-story building all day because the building is collapsing and debris is burning.

Officials say the building is a total loss and there is damage to surrounding buildings in the storage facility due to smoke, flames and water.

Arson investigators were unable to get onto the property until the afternoon. Cloutier said the cause of the fast-spreading fire is under investigation.

"I would say the fireworks that were going off during the fire would certainly contribute to that," Cloutier said. "But what actually was first, we haven't determined that, and we haven't determined yet."

SJFD says Public Storage employees will be able to work with people who have units to get their items back once has cleared the area but no timeline has been determined.

No injuries have been reported. No other details on the arrest are available at this time.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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