Fire displaces 8 in San Jose

January 9, 2014 10:34 pm

San Jose condo fire

A fast moving fire Thursday displaced at least eight people, destroyed one home and damaged two others in San Jose.

“You can feel the heat. It was blazing. It was unbelievable to see the smoke and the embers,” said Natalie Thiel, who lived near the fire.

Thiel and other frightened neighbors spoke with KTVU Thursday and shared cell phone videos they had taken of the fire that broke out shortly before 6 p.m.

“You could just see huge flames. We were really worried that it was a school or somebody we knew,” said Sommer Gatewood who saw the fire from blocks away.

Neighbors say the fire was stubborn.

It started in one townhouse, but flames spread to the walls of the adjacent homes on both sides.

“The fire would spin up from the window. The glass would break,” said another neighbor who said others came door to door to warn about the fire.

One woman who lives a few doors down says she called 911 but was frustrated.

“I got some crazy recording on there and I talked to the gal across the street and she said me too, they put me on hold,” said Barbara Taroni.

Neighbors say by the time fire crews arrived minutes later, the townhomes were fully engulfed.

Firefighters say it took about 45 minutes to contain the fire.

“Once you get into units like this, it gets into the walls, the attics.  Some of these places have common attics,” said Captain Cleo Doss of the San Jose Fire Department.

Firefighters say investigators are looking at the cause of the fire including that it may have started with lint in a dryer.

“It’s scary. It’s five houses down and to think that a dryer machine and possibly the lint, it’s so scary,” said neighbor Natalie Thiel.

Firefighters say three people were inside the home that initially caught on fire, including two young children but they were not injured.

A firefighter suffering from stress needed treatment.

A fire captain tells KTVU as standard procedure, arson investigators have been called in to look into the cause of this fire.