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Sunset Beach house collapses in 2-building fire

A four-alarm fire destroyed one beachfront home and damaged two others in the Sunset Beach on Thursday, May 12, 2011. The fire appeared to have started in one multi-story home -- which collapsed just before 5:30 p.m. -- and spread to an adjacent residence in the 16500 block of Pacific Coast Highway. The home on the opposite side was saved by firefighters. The two homes sustained heavy damage, but the third was spared serious damage. One person suffered smoke inhalation injuries. There were no immediate reports on what caused the blaze.

May 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Orange County firefighters were called to a report of two houses on fire at 16581 S. Pacific Coast Highway in Sunset Beach at 4:50 p.m. Thursday.

Two houses were fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters battled those blazes and attempted to prevent surrounding houses from catching fire.

Firefighters used a technique called a "water curtain" to protect surrounding houses.

The fire spread to a third house and caused fire damage, but less severe than the other two.

About 20 minutes after firefighters arrived, one of the houses collapsed from fire damage. That house was valued at $2.6 million.

One person reportedly suffered from smoke inhalation.

Pacific Coast Highway was closed from Anderson Street to Warner Avenue.

Firefighters from Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Orange County Fire Authority departments worked together to fight the blaze.

Five homes were evacuated. Two of the homes were destroyed.

The cause of the fires was under investigation. Some neighbors thought an unattended barbecue grill at the collapsed house may have sparked the blaze.