Mountain View apartment fire victims return home

February 28, 2012 11:47:10 AM PST
Victims of the big apartment complex fire in Mountain View got their first opportunity to return and see what they could salvage Tuesday as investigators continued trying to pinpoint the cause of the blaze.

It was a very emotional morning. Many people could be seen hugging and crying while others appeared stoic as residents returned to apartments which were just fine 24 hours ago, but for some now, no longer exist. Mountain View fire officials escorted residents into the building where they were allowed 15-20 minutes to gather a small amount of important and essential items.

Firefighters keeping an eye out for hot spots found one just after 10 a.m. when they observed smoke coming from a section of the roof, however, no fire was discovered.

The fire started Monday in a second-floor unit. It went into the attic and spread rapidly prompting a fourth alarm within 30 minutes. Crews from Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale assisted the Mountain View Fire Department.

The Santa Clara County Arson Task Force was on scene Tuesday searching for the cause. "Right now, they are in four units that were the most heavily damaged units, and they're investigating up there," MVFD spokesperson Jamie Garrett said. "It's structurally sound enough for us to go up there and investigate at this point."

A total of 26 apartment units and 50 residents were affected by the fire. Five units were heavily damaged, four units were completely destroyed, four residents were left completely homeless, and one firefighter was injured. The Red Cross has set up shop at a local elementary school and has been offering shelter, clothing, food, and other services.


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