Raging Fire Tears Through Downtown Apartments

One person was taken to UCSD Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Twenty people are homeless after a three-alarm fire at an apartment complex in downtown San Diego. NBC 7’s Vanessa Herrera explains what’s next for residents and the fire department.

    An intense fire quickly swept through a two-story building in downtown San Diego Monday.

    Jimm Jenkins evacuated his apartment just before midnight Monday thinking the threat of the fire was going to be temporary.

    "I was still kind of thinking oh, they'll just come and, you know, burnt toast. They'll air out the room or something and everything will be okay," Jenkins.

    It wasn't until he was outside of the building at Broadway and 9th that he saw the real damage.

    WATCH: Fire Rages in Downtown Apt Building

    [DGO] WATCH: Fire Rages in Downtown Apt Building
    This video captures the moments firefighters first began battling the fire at the apartments and businesses inside a two-story building at Broadway and 9th Avenue in San Diego on March 31, 2014.

    "I saw the flames coming out and, okay, that was obviously more than I was expecting," he told NBC 7.

    Flames shot from the second-story window when fire crews arrived to the building that houses apartments on the top floor and businesses on the ground floor.

    A couple having dinner nearby stopped to watch firefighters at work. The man and woman told NBC 7 the fire was “raging pretty good” when they first saw it.

    They said the San Diego Fire-Rescue crews appeared to be concerned at first.

    “It looked like perhaps the roof was going to cave in on them so they were really cautious, they were really, really careful,” one witness said.

    Zainab Adam was on the way to her 9th Avenue apartment after getting some ice cream when she first saw the blaze.

    “It was huge, it was on top of that,” Adam said referring to the apartment building.

    One person was taken to UCSD Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation. A Chihuahua died and a cat was saved officials said.

    It took fire crews more than an hour to knock down the fire.

    San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesperson Lee Swanson told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the fire started in an apartment on the second floor and spread to another unit.

    There was water damage to the first floor businesses and some smoke damage to units on the second floor.  The businesses on the first floor include a tattoo shop, wig parlor and beauty salon.

    Approximately 20 residents were left without a place to stay overnight.

    The cause is under investigation. A damage estimate wasn't immediately available.