Cellphone video shows flames spewing from the back of a second-story townhome in San Jose. Chad Erickson shot the footage and lives less than half a mile from the Country Club Townhomes Complex, which backs up to a shopping center.
"We smelled smoke so my son and I just ran over to Safeway to see what was going on," said Erickson.
The fire department arrived shortly just minutes after the first call came in, shortly before 6 p.m.
"They found two structures upstairs and downstairs fully involved with flames pulled the attack line, tried to make entry to put the fire out," said San Jose Fire Capt. Cleo Doss.
No residents were hurt, but three units were damaged. A total of eight people are displaced. Investigators are still determining what caused the fire.
"It looked like it possibly may have started upstairs, but as crews arrived here, fully involved upstairs and downstairs. They said it was pretty surreal as they showed up," said Doss.
"It was just hot, the flames, it was really hot. And then all the steam coming off of the fire or from the water from the fire department," said Erickson.
It took firefighters about an hour and 15 minutes to knock down and contain the fire. Then they went to work on the hot spots. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for exhaustion.