Fire rips through Clairemont apartment building: 2 teens, mother jump out from 2-story window

Blaze causes $1M in damages

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego police officer was credited Tuesday for helping save two teens and their mother from a burning apartment building in Clairemont.

Investigators said the blaze broke out at the Stratton Apartments on Caminito Aguilar shortly after 11p.m. Monday.

Initial reports indicate that flames from a stove fire erupted in one unit and quickly spread to at least two other apartments. Fire officials later determined four units were affected.

Zack Bradley, a police officer with San Diego Police Department, was one of the first to arrive at the scene. He told 10News that he noticed two teens -- ages 13 and 16 -- and their mother banging on a second-story window.

He told them to jump out and caught them in his arms.

"I'm by myself ... the apartment directly to the left of the top floor, they jumped out and I caught them as they jumped," said Bradley.

The teens and their mother were taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation, but they were expected to recover.

A resident told investigators she had been cooking when a grease fire started on her stove and got out of control. One neighbor tried to put it out.

"I ran in there with a fire extinguisher but it was too late, the fire was already spreading so I ran upstairs and knocked on people's doors to get them out," said neighbor John Nolan.

Getting the residents evacuated was the most important thing to do in the situation, according to Bradley.

"It's just a matter of safety, you [have to] get them out," he said. "That's our main goal and function."

The woman who lived in the apartment where the fire started was also taken to the hospital for burns.

Fire officials said 21 people were displaced due to the blaze.

Officials said it took crews 30 minutes to control the fire, which caused an estimated $1.1 million in damages -- $900,000 to the structure and $200,000 to contents.

The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents arrange for emergency lodging.


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