Saturday's fire on Straight Street would have engulfed several city blocks if fire commanders on the scene hadn't made the right call, said Fire Chief Brian McDermott.
Fire commanders Capt. Jose Castro and Battalion Chief John Botero got to the scene and within minutes switched the mission from offensive to defensive in order to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the neighborhood.
"When they got there it was already an advanced fire," McDermott said. "It became a conflagration in nine minutes."
Fire personnel arrived at Straight & Narrow and quickly evacuated dozens of civilians from the three-story addiction recovery facility. At first their thought was to quickly extinguish the blaze, but after they opened the door and came face to face with a "ball of fire," the mission changed.
"At that point we knew we couldn't control it," McDermott said. "They made a great call."