Firefighters rushed to rescue residents of an apartment complex on Seventh Avenue in Downtown San Diego on Thursday, Jan. 19.
Dozens of people are picking up the pieces after a fire ripped through a downtown apartment complex.
The fire started in the 1300 block of 7th Avenue and many people say they are thankful they made it out alive.
It took firefighters over an hour to put out the intense blaze. Flames and smoke were seen billowing out of the second and third story windows of the historic building.
Resident Kent Chaw had just left to go to the store when the blaze began.
"I walked back down here and suddenly I saw this black smoke coming out the roof. I just hear like people yelling," he said.
The owner of the building says a grease fire started on the second floor and quickly spread. Firefighters say four people were sent to the hospital, one we're told with life threatening injuries.
Friday, many people returned to the place they once called home, hoping to salvage what was left.
Shonnie Forstorm's boyfriend was able to escape the blaze unharmed. She says their apartment doesn't have much damage. The owner says the fire officials say the building is not livable, forcing Forstorm to take all she can from the apartment.
“Just like the necessities but we were able to grab like the most expensive things that we could grab," she said.
Though many people now have to start from scratch, Chaw says he's thankful it's all material things.
"Everything is replaceable as long as everyone is alright," he said.
Fire officials estimate the damage is close to $2 million. The owner says there were smoke alarms in each unit and a sprinkler system in the hallways.
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