Calif. Residents Jump to Escape Fire

SANTA CLARA, Calif. --

Two residents of a Santa Clara apartment complex were forced to leap out of second-story windows early Tuesday to escape a suspicious two-alarm fire an act of desperation that sent both to a local hospital for treatment, authorities said.

Santa Clara Fire Department Spokesman Dave Parker said his agency got numerous 911 calls and a pulled fire alarm alert at around 4:37 a.m. from Park Central located at 1050 Benton.

When firefighters arrived at the two-alarm blaze, they found flames in the second floor hallway, blocking the exit of residents of two apartments.

There was fire that precluded the people from the two adjunct apartments from coming out the door, Parker said. So we had two individuals one from each apartment exit through their second story window. One person injured an ankle. The other had some smoke inhalation and needed transport to the hospital.

One of residents forced to leap told KTVU that he had but one thought when it came to his escape.

My house caught on fire and Ive been doing a lot of homework lately that couldnt be replaced so I grab my work, the soon-to-graduate Santa Clara senior said.

The studentwho asked not to be identified -- said after a late night of studying the alarm awoken him around 4:30 a.m.

My door was engulfed in flames, he said. I went back into my room, grabbed my math stuff and jumped out the windowThere was no other way for me to get out except for the window.

He was treated and released for smoke inhalation at a local hospital.

It looks like it was done on purpose, the student said of the fire. There a rag there (outside his door) that wasnt there when I went to sleep.

The blaze forced brief evacuations at the massive complex, but most residents were allowed to return to their homes a short time later. The blaze was brought under control at 5:30 a.m.

Parker said an investigator was on the scene trying to determine if the fire was suspicious in nature since it appeared to start in the hallway.

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