ISLA VISTA, Calif. (KABC) -- Amid severe fire warnings throughout Southern California, commercial-grade fireworks were set off in Isla Vista and four items were set on fire during an impromptu gathering, Santa Barbara County officials said.
The southern part of Santa Barbara County was hit with a power outage for several hours Monday night as the Thomas Fire raged in Ventura County. During that time, someone began setting off commercial grade fireworks in the beachside community, described as both mortar style and cinder cones.
Some were set off over the ocean and others at intersections in residential areas.
The fireworks attracted thousands of college students and local residents, who began to congregate on Del Playa Drive. As they gathered, some individuals set a number of items on fire, including two couches, a chair and a dumpster, and in at least one instance used gasoline as an accelerant.
Isla Vista is known to be home to many students of the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as Santa Barbara City College. Individuals involved in setting off the fireworks and fires have not been identified.
County authorities said the incident required a diversion of resources as they were being kept busy with the Thomas Fire and the power outage.
"Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the series of events diverted resources away from other important calls for service," the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office said.
"The Sheriff's Office wants to remind the public that first responders and the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center are extremely busy due to the Thomas Fire in Ventura County and the widespread power outages we have experienced in southern Santa Barbara County. We request your cooperation as we work together to provide safety during this crisis period."
Fireworks, arson fires set in Isla Vista during red-flag conditions