‘All I Saw Was Red Flames': Carlsbad Apartment Complex Catches Fire, Causes Evacuations

Large flames and thick smoke could be seen coming from a Carlsbad apartment complex early Thursday morning, damaging at least four units, officials said.

The building, located on Chinquapin Avenue, caught fire just before 4 a.m., according to the Carlsbad Fire Department.

“I woke up, all I saw was red flames moving upward,” said resident Faye Bacon.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time; however, Bacon said, “It came from one apartment, and it quickly spread upward.”

“At this time, it appears that the fire started in the first floor and extended to the second floor,” said CFD Division Chief Mike Lopez.

Gerry Pirritano lives in the apartment unit above near the source of the fire, he told NBC 7.

He was lying in bed when he heard the fire alarm go off.

Pirritano told NBC 7 he just moved from an apartment complex where the fire alarm went off regularly, so he was “waiting and waiting and waiting, and then I heard some thumping outside,” and that’s when he opened his front door.

“A bunch of smoke came billowing in from downstairs,” Pirritano said.

Pirritano then grabbed his dog, Chronos, and his computer essentials before running out of the burning building.

“It’s bad enough waking up to an alarm clock, let alone a fire,” Gerry said.

Crews from Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, and Vista arrived at the scene to assist and block off portions of Chinquapin Avenue and Harrison Street.

Crews were able to put out the blaze in roughly half of an hour.

Two units had heavy fire damage and another two had smoke and water damage, according to Lopez.

“We’re going to have to live with a lot of smoke smell in the apartment,” Bacon told NBC 7. “That concerns me, because that’s not healthy.”

Though the fire was contained to the first and second floors, the entire apartment complex was evacuated as a precaution, Lopez said.

Four families were displaced following the damages, Lopez told NBC 7. The Red Cross was en route to help those affected.

No injuries were reported.

No other information was available.

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