Two people jumped to safety from a second-story apartment when a fire erupted early Thursday morning in a Garden Grove apartment building, killing a half-dozen pets, causing more than $600,000 in damage and displacing 12 residents.
Crews responded about 3 a.m. to the 13300 block of El Prado Avenue and found at least two units ablaze in the two-story structure, according to Capt. Thanh Nguyen of the Garden Grove Fire Department, who said it took 55 firefighters about a half-hour to extinguish the flames.
By the time firefighters arrived, a man had jumped from the window of a second-story apartment and his wife was hanging from the window, Nguyen said. She also jumped before crews could reach her. Both initially declined medical care, but after a second assessment, it was determined they had sustained some smoke inhalation and were taken to a hospital as a precaution, Nguyen said.
The couple live on the first floor, but the flames and smoke chased them upstairs, Nguyen said. Fortunately for them, they had a working smoke alarm that roused them from sleep, he said.
A preliminary investigation determined the fire may have started in a ground floor apartment and spread upward, Nguyen said. It appears to be accidental, and investigators are “unable to rule out smoking material” as a cause, he said.
Residents tried to warn their neighbors as they ran from their apartments.
“We heard somebody scream that there was a fire,” resident Sandra Alvarez told ABC7. “As soon as we heard that, my husband started screaming and yelling `there’s a fire,’ and we just screamed really loud to wake up the whole building.”
A half-dozen of the couple’s cats were killed in the blaze and two others were rescued and treated by firefighters, Nguyen said.
Four units in the apartment building were damaged, displacing a dozen residents, he said. The American Red Cross was called in to provide assistance.
The estimated damage to the building, which was red-tagged, was $600,000 and $60,000 to its contents, Nguyen said.
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