This is video from an apartment fire Wednesday in the 900 block of East Jones Street near Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California.
“When we arrived we had a downstairs and an upstairs apartment units fully involved”, says Santa Maria Fire Department Chief Jeffrey Jones, “so we ordered quite a few resources not just for here but to backfill the rest of the city’s needs.”
At least one cat perished in the fire another cat is unaccounted for.
Aside from the two apartments gutted by the fire several other units have been declared unsafe to return to either from smoke and heat damage or from a lack of utilities.
Investigators say the fire started in the patio of the downstairs unit and is considered to be suspicious in nature.
“We’re using the help of Santa Barbara County, Guadalupe, and San Luis County Fire,” said Santa Maria Fire Chief Jeff Jones.
Firefighters evacuated twelve units. The flames quickly spread to the second floor and ignited a tree in the front yard–melting insulation on a nearby power line, turning the situation from bad to worse.
“That’s 440 volt powerline down on the ground that’s live, so we made sure we kept the public out and made sure the firefighters were aware of the hazard,” Jones said.
“It started to get scary when the glass, the windows shattered and the tree became engulfed,” said Michelle Robinson, who watched the scene unfold.
Robinson and some nursing students at Hancock College drove by, saw the fire and stopped to help.
“We all decided that we need to be there just in case somebody needed CPR, because we’re all first aid and CPR certified being in the program,” Robinson said.