SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The San Jose Fire Department is investigating the cause of three major fires since early Sunday that displaced a total of 22 people, killed eight puppies and badly damaged four homes and a former gymnastics club.

Firefighters were dispatched to the first of the blazes at 7:34 a.m. Sunday, when a fire was reported at a seven-unit condominium complex in the 3000 block of Creekside Drive, San Jose fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said.

The four-alarm fire resulted in major damage to three units and minor damage to five other units at the complex, she said. Six garages and five vehicles were destroyed.

Eighty firefighters were sent to the scene, including crews from the Milpitas Fire Department and the Santa Clara County Fire Department. The blaze was controlled shortly before noon.

There were no reported injuries, but 12 people were displaced, with four seeking housing assistance from the American Red Cross, Gutierrez said.

Sunday’s second fire was reported at a single-family home in the 10000 block of Murtha Drive at 8:35 p.m. That blaze reached three alarms before firefighters had it under control at 10:42 p.m., Gutierrez said.

One firefighter was treated at a hospital for a minor injury and later released, Gutierrez said

Eight puppies died in that fire, she said.

The home sustained major damage and was deemed uninhabitable, and the Red Cross assisted 10 people in finding alternative housing, Gutierrez said. A second home next door had minor damage.

The third blaze was reported Monday morning, at 3:53 a.m., at the former Almaden Valley Gymnastics Club in the 1900 block of Almaden Road.

When firefighters arrived, the roof of the building was engulfed in flames.

Firefighters battled the stubborn blaze from the outside because there was so much smoke coming from the building, and to prevent firefighters from falling into two swimming pools believed to be inside, fire Capt. Reggie Williams said.

Crews controlled the fire by 6:45 a.m.

No one was injured, but the fire is considered suspicious, Gutierrez said.

Pooja Trizedi, communications specialist for the Red Cross in San Jose, said the organization helped four of the 12 people displaced in the Creekside Drive fire obtain shelter.

The people they assisted told the Red Cross that their roof collapsed following an explosion of some sort in their garage, Trizedi said.

The Red Cross also obtained alternative shelter for six adults and four children displaced in the fire on Murtha Drive. The families, which include two adults who are diabetic, are being put up at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel. They are also receiving food and clothing, Trizdezi said.



(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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