“It was like an inferno,” described Ryan Kirby.
A three-alarm fire broke out in a Del Mar condo complex just before midnight on Friday damaging or destroying six units. Witnesses estimated the flames were 30 to 40 feet high.
“I could hear people screaming,” said Annie Duval. She ran outside with her husband Dave who said, “This went so fast that the family above got out with nothing.”
Duval says a family with children left so quickly they did not even have shoes on, so Duval and his wife gave them some to wear. Firefighters say five families were displaced by the fire and relocated by the Red Cross.
At least eight fire engines responded. Firefighters had the flames out within 45 minutes. However, hot spots continue to flare up keeping crews busy into the late morning.
One person was transported to the hospital. Witnesses say that victim suffered burns to his hands.
The cause is under investigation, firefighters said. Neighbors claimed the fire started in the kitchen of one of the units. Crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to other buildings just a few steps away.
Residents said the complex was renovated within the past few years and fireproof roofing was installed.
“That saved our buildings, and saved a lot of people, too probably,” said Annie Duval.