SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --A group of seniors in San Jose is having a tough time breathing Thursday after they inhaled toxic smoke from a trestle fire burning next door to them.
A train trestle caught on fire Wednesday near Wooster Avenue and Julian Street. Thick black smoke could be seen for miles.
Elizabeth Rosales lives in an apartment next door and had a very tough time getting out of bed Thursday morning.
PHOTOS: Train trestle fire sends black smoke in the air
"I could feel my nose burning, they were burning very bad, where I had to pick up my blouse, and cover half of my face," Rosales said. "I was so afraid to speak, because I could feel it on my throat, in my throat."
Residents were evacuated from their homes as the fire moved closer, but with nowhere else to go. They found themselves stuck outside, breathing in some unwanted particles. The smoke turned black because the train trestle was soaked in tar.
"I had a lot of mucus, a lot of congestion, and that's why I ended up down here this morning, because I just had to get out of my apartment," said San Jose resident Ronna Marin.
Respiratory therapist Sandra Wong who works at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center says those living with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease need to limit their time outside, especially on Spare The Air Days.
"You want to avoid mid-afternoon, especially with heat, and during the evening, again, with the commute traffic, and with the heat and air being a little bit heavier, saturated with auto particles," said respiratory therapist Sandra Wong.
Bay Area air quality will continue to be impacted due to the Soberanes Fire burning in Monterey County.
"They get inhaled to the lungs, and that will cause a person to become short of breath, through that irritation, and your lungs will actually react to that irritation," Wong said.
The cause of the train trestle fire remains under investigation.