Calif. Residents Used Rock Climbing Gear to Escape Six-Alarmer

Oct. 17--Residents of a Bay Area apartment building rushed to escape a six-alarm fire Thursday morning, some using rock climbing gear to lower themselves to safety.

Four people suffered moderate and minor injuries in the fire, which was reported about 5:15 a.m. at the 75-unit Redwood City apartment building, according to KTVU. No major injuries or deaths were reported.

Roommates Matt Fisher and Adam Carpenter went for their rock climbing gear when the blaze began and were able to escape injury, NBC Bay Area reported.

"I threw some wet towels on the door and from there, it was just quick grab for stuff," Carpenter said.

Watch video

Terry Ramirez told KTVU she saw her neighbors using ropes to lower themselves from a third-floor balcony as their apartment filled with smoke before firefighters arrived with ladders

Aerial television news footage showed dozens of fire engines parked blocks away from the blaze, hampered in their ability to reach the block because of narrow streets clogged with parked cars. The fire quickly escalated to five alarms and then increased to six alarms.

The roof of the building collapsed about 6:15 a.m., and flames could be seen shooting from the top floor. The fire was nearly out just before 9 a.m., though firefighters were still monitoring some hotspots.

The building was not equipped with sprinklers, and people were lucky to escape, Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi told NBC Bay Area.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but it began in a fourth-floor apartment, he said.

In July, a six-alarm blaze tore through another Redwood City apartment complex, killing one and injuring 21. A lawsuit has been filed against the owner of the building, which was not equipped with sprinklers, NBC Bay Area reported.

Red Cross workers were on the scene and opened an evacuation center at the Red Morton Community Center.

Copyright 2013 - Los Angeles Times

Loading