SAN DIEGO – One firefighters suffered burn injuries and eight people were treated for smoke inhalation following a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex in City Heights early Tuesday morning that houses disabled residents.
The blaze was caused by a resident who was smoking a cigarette while using oxygen, San Diego Fire-Rescue investigators determined. Some neighbors told 10News they heard loud booming sounds and thought oxygen tanks may have exploded.
The fire broke out at 3:18 a.m. at the three-story building at 4165 Menlo Ave. SDFR crews arrived to find black smoke and flames billowing from a third-floor apartment and called for a second alarm.
Residents who were awakened by the fire went door-to-door evacuating their neighbors. Firefighters and San Diego police officers assisted several residents who were unable to get out on their own.
It took the 60 responding firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze, SDFR reported.
Three residents were hospitalized with smoke inhalation and three more were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, SDFR said in a news release. Two firefighters were hospitalized, one with minor burns and another for smoke inhalation. A police officer was also hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
The exact circumstances of the fire were not confirmed. Some neighbors told 10News they heard loud booming sounds and thought oxygen tanks may have exploded.
One unit sustained fire damage, two more sustained smoke damage and four others had broken windows or water damage. Seven residents are getting temporary housing assistance from the Red Cross.
The building houses a total of 41 residents in 36 units. The total damage to the building and contents was estimated at $325,000.