A fatal fire closed lanes on U.S. Highway 101 in Santa Barbara Monday morning. The identity of the person involved has not been released.
NewsChannel 3 was on the scene as flames and smoke shot up just after 2 a.m. The fire was in a drainage, around sound walls and a flood control creek.
Just after 4 a.m. as part of the investigation, a drain pipe was searched. That’s where the body was found, according to Engineer Kevin Corbett. The fire had burned in that area and it’s believed there may be a connection.
Other details about the person retrieved by the coroner’s office have not been released.
Because of the fire and the lengthy investigation, some lanes on Highway 101 were closed. That backed up traffic for miles both on the freeway and on the nearby surface streets.
CalTrans, the California Highway Patrol, Department of Justice investigators, Santa Barbara Police and Santa Barbara City Fire were all on the scene.
The investigation went well into the afternoon and involved remote cameras to inspect the drain pipe where the body was located.
Police Sgt. Riley Harwood said the area is known for homeless camps, and debris, belongings and trash were nearby. “At this time of year, we have a lot of homeless people using warming fires and that could be the scenario here although that has not been established,” said Harwood.
For now there is no sign of foul play.
There was no vehicle nearby when the fire was spotted.
The drainage in the area, when not running with water, is an easy access under the freeway to the waterfront.
The fire was near newly constructed homes, and one had visible outside damage from the smoke and heat.