Eight Santa Monica families were temporarily displaced after a fire broke out in a carport at an apartment building on Washington Avenue Friday afternoon, February 12th, American Red Cross chapter officials said.

Santa Monica firefighters were called to the 200 block of Washington Avenue, near Third Street, regarding a fire that started in a carport at the rear of a 24-unit building, Red Cross officials said. Witnesses told Red Cross representatives that four to six apartments above the carport received some fire damage in addition to smoke, soot and water damage.

Other units also suffered smoke damage and three cars parked in the carport were completely destroyed, Red Cross officials said. The cause of the fire and estimated damage is under investigation.

All utilities, including gas, electric and water, were shut off to the building and the two-story structure was “yellow tagged” by the Santa Monica Building and Safety Department, rendering it unsuitable for habitation and allowing tenants to enter only for emergency purposes.

Eight families who were rendered temporarily homeless following the blaze were placed in local motels for the weekend by the Red Cross or until other arrangements could be made for more permanent housing, a Red Cross spokesman said. Other fire victims stayed with family or friends, or made their own housing arrangements.

The Santa Monica Red Cross chapter will provide additional services to the victims on an “as needed” basis.