Fire crews continue to investigate a fire that broke out at a downtown San Diego residential hotel Friday morning, leaving two people dead and 17 others injured, 10News reported.
Fire spokesman Maurice Luque said discarded smoking materials started the fire at about 7 a.m. on the first floor of the Mason Hotel, 1345 Fifth Ave.The dead man was found in the hotel after firefighters arrived, police Sgt. Tom Carmody said. The victim was not immediately identified.Almost 40 medical personnel were on the scene assisting injured residents. Seventeen of the injured were transported to area hospitals and treated for burns and smoke inhalation.One police officer suffered smoke inhalation while trying to rescue residents from the burning building."They had to take me out of my window and then they had to take everyone out the windows. That's a scary feeling," said one resident of the Mason Hotel.Luque said the three-story, 27-unit hotel had no sprinklers because it's not required under current laws. A fire alarm did go off.However, Luque said there were some issues concerning the doors. Of the two doors on the first floor, one was padlocked shut which prevented residents who were trying to flee the fire from getting out. Firefighters broke down the door and rescued those residents standing in the hallway."The door should have been unlocked," Luque told 10News.Luque added that some of the stairwell doors were open, which led to the quick spread of the fire to the second and third stories.According to 10News, 21 people were registered to live in the Mason Hotel. As of 11:15 a.m., seven people were still unaccounted for. However, Luque said after making four sweeps of the building for potential victims, noone was found. He believes they were not in the building during the fire.About 125 firefighters from San Diego and Chula Vista kept the flames confined to the second and third floors of the hotel.According to Luque, the fired caused $1.2 million worth of damage to the hotel.