The Huntington Beach Fire Department (HBFD), in collaboration with the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD), has completed a rigorous investigation into the cause of the fire that took place at the Wintersburg property on February 25, 2022. Fortunately, there was no loss of life or injuries as a result of the fire that occurred near Warner Avenue and Nichols Lane. While HBFD was able to limit the amount of damage and protect the church, the entire Wintersburg site is recognized as a historic and important landmark. All historic Wintersburg structures are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Due to various factors, the HBFD and HBPD have identified two potential causes of the fire, but are unable to identify its exact origin. The HBFD and HBPD have no reason to believe the fire was intentionally set. There is no evidence of arson or a hate crime.

Evidence of personal belongings at the site of the fire indicate at least one individual was possibly living on the property. Through the investigation, the HBPD was able to determine that a local known transient was living nearby and was seen leaving the area shortly after the fire. That individual is not currently a suspect. It is unclear whether this person was involved in the fire or whether the fire may have been caused by someone living on the property. HBPD will continue to investigate this individual’s possible association.

A second potential cause is due to the Wintersburg property being electrified at the time of the fire. After inquiring with Southern California Edison, electricity may have been illegally and dangerously acquired by tapping into a nearby power source, bypassing the electric meter.

The City of Huntington Beach has been informed by the owners of the Wintersburg property, Republic Services, of its intentions to enhance its security of the site.

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