REDWOOD CITY (CBS/AP/BCN) – Fire officials say one man died and more than a dozen others were injured in a large fire at a Redwood City affordable housing complex.
The man was the only one unaccounted for after the six-alarm fire on Sunday on the 500 block of Woodside Road.
Fire officials said the fire started in the unidentified man’s apartment on Sunday before burning through the rest of the complex.
Redwood City Deputy Fire Chief Stan Maupin said 18 others were treated for minor to moderate injuries, and that three firefighters were also injured while battling the blaze.
The fire burned for about 15 hours, and firefighters had to use ladders to rescue about a dozen residents from their balconies.
The 72-unit Hallmark House Apartments is now uninhabitable, displacing 97 tenants.
Residents of the complex lined up outside the burned-out building Tuesday to wait for a chance to salvage what they could of their possessions.
Dozens returned Tuesday morning with friends and relatives to carry out whatever was left of their belongings in garbage bags and storage bins.
Residents were handed facemasks and gloves, and given 10 minutes each to enter their former apartments, escorted by a fire official.
The brief time slot was causing anxiety and frustration among the crowd lined up in the street outside the damaged building.
“Ten minutes—some people can’t even get up the stairs in 10 minutes,” said D. Joey Stone, a 10-year resident of the building who said he was in Modesto when it caught fire.
His girlfriend and dogs got out safely, and their apartment didn’t burn but sustained water damage, Stone said.
“Major water damage,” he said. “I don’t know what we’ll find.”
Stone said he wasn’t slotted to get into his apartment until later, but came back Tuesday morning to help his neighbors carry out whatever they could grab.
“I’m here to help,” he said. “I’ll be here all day.”
The blaze remains under investigation by the Redwood City police and fire departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A cause has yet to be determined, though witnesses said the fire appeared to start on the top floor, which sustained the heaviest damage.
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