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Woman Rescued From 2-Alarm Apartment Fire In East Palo Alto

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EAST PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A woman trapped in a burning apartment early Sunday morning was rescued due to quick action by neighbors and firefighters, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

The two-alarm fire, which started in the kitchen of a second-storey apartment at 280 East O’Keefe St., was reported in a frantic 911 call by a resident who said she and another woman had escaped but a third woman who couldn’t walked was trapped in a bedroom.

As firefighters were deploying a hose line, they heard screams and pleas for help, and ran to assist a resident who had broken a window by wrapping his hand with a shirt, Schapelhouman said.

With the fire spreading and smoke filling the room, Captain Troy Holt entered the bedroom through the window and he and Firefighter James Lennon lifted the woman out to safety. With the help of residents and other firefighters the woman was carried to a waiting medical unit for treatment, Schapelhouman said.

The fire gutted the two-bedroom apartment before it was brought under control around 12:45 a.m., causing smoke and heat damage to two other units and almost extending to a neighboring building, Schapelhouman said. The fire’s heat broke the windows on a similar unit 40 feet away.

Structural damage was estimated at about $150,000, and another $20,000 to $25,000 in contents were lost.

A total of six or seven people were displaced by the fire, and five people were treated for smoke inhalation, including two apartment residents who were taken to Stanford Medical Center for treatment. Holt and another resident were treated at the scene.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation but Schapelhouman previous indicated that an unattended pot on the stove was the likely source.

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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