Massive Fire Destroys Condo Construction Site in Santa Clara

Police have detained a person of interest in connection with a fire that destroyed an under-construction apartment complex in Santa Clara today.

According to CBS Channel 5, Santa Clara Police Department Capt. Wahid Kazem declined to elaborate on the reasons for the person’s detention but confirmed that they are in custody and being questioned.

The blaze ignited sometime between 11am today. Within the hour, the entire top of the project was entirely engulfed in flames, which threatened neighborhoods of single-family homes that surround the development.

The Santa Clara Fire Department responded with 10 engines, three trucks, five chief officers, rescue air and light units and two ambulances to help with emergencies.

(Photo by @SantaClaraFD)

They have since contained the blaze, but there’s still smoldering debris and a mop-up is underway, authorities told reporters at a news conference.

“Once again, the city of Santa Clara’s first responders saved the day,” Mayor Lisa Gillmor said in a news release. “Specifically, their heroic actions saved the adjacent neighborhood from what could have been a true catastrophe for many of our residents. I want to personally thank our fire personnel for their quick and attentive response and our police department for assisting with the evacuation and much more.”

(Photo by @SantaClaraFD)

The Pinn Bros’ Development mixed-use project at 1890 El Camino Real was on track to be completed by the year’s end. It would have built 58 condos on the 1.5-acre property.

Santa Clara fire Chief Bill Kelly said everyone evacuated the site without incident, although one worker sustained a leg injury from jumping off the scaffolding.

(Photo by @SantaClaraFD)

Authorities have yet to determine what caused the fire, which prompted evacuation orders for 10 homes on Pierce and Clay street.


  1. This fire reminds me of when Santana Row burned to the ground…well, maybe not “all the way to the ground.”

    Out of the smoldering ashes, San Jose city officials finally listened to San Jose Firefighters (who are still grossly underpaid) concerning “sprinkler systems must be operational” for each “story of a building during construction.”

    I do not know if Santa Clara has Building Codes, with reference to operational sprinkler systems on each story of the building during construction. If not, Santa Clara city officials should give the San Jose Fire Fighters a call for the particulars such as…”learn baby learn-not burn baby burn…” or something similar to get the message concerning operational fire suppression systems during and post construction.

    By the way, the Santana Row fire was by far, more spectacular.

    David S. Wall

  2. Seeing these big fires in stick and plywood construction reminds me of what my father called these types of building years ago.

    “Fire Traps”, “You couldn’t pay me to stay in a place like that over night!”

    Thanks for the advice Dad!

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