Authorities say the blaze erupted in the 5900 block of Mission Boulevard at 10:36 a.m. Residents were seen on top of their homes, spraying their roofs with garden hoses. Officials said the fire was fully contained around 7 p.m.
Not everyone was able to save their homes. Alejandro Heredia's home was one of two residences that were destroyed. He says luckily, though, his family was able to get out safely.
"I was nervous, scared because my wife was in there with my daughter, 3 years old, and my baby, who is 15 days old. But they're fine. They're all fine," said Heredia.
Flames scorched two acres of vegetation and damaged 11 outbuildings, three motorhomes, four residential structures and two other structures. Fire officials say 40 vehicles were also burned, but most were under repair or salvaged.
Firefighters say the situation was made worse by red flag conditions, but a break in the weather helped.
"In the beginning, we were at 25 to 30 miles per hour sustained gusts, which pushed this through all these homes. Luckily, we had the wind die down to about 10 miles an hour, which gave us the upper hand," said Cal Fire Riverside Capt. Lucas Spelman.
West Riverside Elementary School was evacuated, authorities said, and students were taken to Mission Middle School. A one-square-mile area -- from Pacific Avenue to Mission Boulevard and Riverview to 42nd Street -- was also under mandatory evacuation orders. All evacuation orders were lifted around 6:30 p.m.
Fire crews reported that multiple power lines were down. One firefighter was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but he is expected to be OK. The cause of the fire has not been determined.