Flames spew from fire station while crew is away

BUENA PARK, Calif. (AP) — Flames poured from the windows of a fire station on a rainy Southern California morning, the raging blaze destroying firefighting vehicles and ravaging the building while a crew was out on a call Thursday.

No one was injured in the fire that broke out around 3:30 a.m. at Station 61 in the city of Buena Park near the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said. Another crew housed in the station escaped safely.

The blaze destroyed a 100-foot-long aerial ladder truck, a battalion chief command SUV, a pickup truck and a swift-water rescue boat. In all, about $1.5 million in firefighting equipment was lost, Kurtz said.

It took more than 60 firefighters from multiple agencies several hours to douse the flames, which severely damaged the station. Water pooled around crews as they hosed down the blackened building.

The cause was under investigation. A fire engine was away on a call when the fire broke out, Kurtz said.

Station 61 had been earmarked to close and make way for a new, $13 million station house nearby, the Orange County Register newspaper reported.

The fire will not affect any requests for firefighting or paramedic coverage in Orange County, Kurtz told the newspaper.

"We have plans in place for scenarios like this," he said. "We're a very large organization, and we have plenty of backup apparatus and quarters."