San Diego

75 Residents Displaced in Clairemont Apartment Complex Fire

An unattended stove is the suspected cause of a fire at an apartment complex in Clairemont Tuesday night that forced 75 residents to evacuate their homes.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) spokesperson Monica Munoz said dozens of residents were displaced in the blaze and the Red of Cross of San Diego provided emergency shelter and services for them overnight.

The fire sparked just before 10:25 p.m. at a complex on Camto Aguilar.

One neighbor told NBC 7 he heard loud smashing noises, as glass and windows broke due to the heat. He pulled the complex's fire alarm, waking several nieghbors.

Instead of running out, those neighbors ran to others' homes, banging on their doors to make sure they got out safely. 

All residents were able to safely evacuate while firefighters knocked out the flames. Within 20 minutes, the fire was out.

No one was injured.

"That just proves to you that when there's harmony, when there's peace, when there's kindness all around everybody can get together and help each other out and thankfully nobody was hurt," neighbor Carlos Gallardo said. 

Munoz said the fire caused about $250,000 in damage to the exterior of the building and $50,000 in damage to one specific apartment where the fire started.

Residents in 24 units were impacted. With so many people displaced, the Red Cross opened a shelter at Kearny Mesa High School, providing meals, health services and more. 

On Wednesday, three families were using the shelter. One resident told NBC 7 she saw the flames and remembers feeling overwhelmed. She was in such a rush to evacuate, she grabbed mismatched socks.

The resident said being in the shelter won't ruin her Thanksgiving. She said knowing that she and her daughter are safe gives her more to be thankful for.

For now, residents of the Clairemont complex aren't sure when they will be allowed back into their homes.

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