Four-Alarm California Fire Leaves One Dead

Crews arrived to find heavy fire and smoke


On Tuesday, Nov. 27, just after 11 p.m., units from the San Jose Fire Department responded to a fast moving structure fire in an historic 12-bedroom boarding house at 580 North Fifth Street in San Jose's Japantown neighborhood.

Firefighters arrived on scene to find heavy smoke and fire conditions spreading rapidly throughout the single-story structure. Preliminary reports indicated that at least 12 occupants were inside when the fire broke out.

Upon arrival first due Truck and Engine Company 1 (A-shift) initiated immediate rescue operations resulting in the successful extrication of three residents. Eight other occupants were able to reach safety on their own.

Several hours after firefighters were able to gain control of the blaze they re-entered the structure and discovered the remains of a single unidentified victim.

Firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading to an adjacent church and art gallery. However, the bungalow-style structure, constructed in 1907, was a complete loss, and the origin of the fire remains under investigation.