The fire, reported at 1:58 a.m., ignited in the laundry room of the Emergency Housing Consortium at 2011 Little Orchard Street near Stauffer Boulevard, San Jose fire Capt. Debbie Ward said.
Because the building's sprinkler system partially extinguished the flames, Ward said firefighters had the fire "extinguished fairly fast" thanks to the additional manpower provided by its second alarm status.
The first firefighters arrived on the scene at 2:06 a.m. and the second alarm was added at 2:11 a.m., according to Ward.
Smoke poured into the complex's living area and prompted the evacuation of 215 residents, Ward said. No injured were reported.
According to the Emergency Housing Consortium's website, the organization offers a variety of housing and supportive services to assist people at risk of becoming homeless.
Ward said the fire was brought under control at 3:13 a.m. and residents were brought back inside shortly afterward, once power had been restored.
The cause of the fire had not yet been determined as of 5 a.m., and Ward said preliminary estimates indicated that the fire caused approximately $5,000 in damage.