OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) --An early morning fire raced through two homes in Oakland, forcing more than a dozen people to make harrowing escapes.
Crews say the fire at 47th and Melrose avenues had been burning for a while when they arrived on scene in the city's Fremont neighborhood. Then they had to let it burn longer because it was so dangerous.
The huge fire required quick thinking from the people inside, and stamina from the firefighters on the outside.
"I just grabbed my phone and ran out," said one fire victim.
Residents had little time to escape the homes as the fire spread from one house to another.
"It was so big," said young fire victim Mauricio Marquez. "All of this house was on fire and then it caught up to this house."
They had a lot of people to evacuate. Firefighters say 18 people had escaped the homes by the time they arrived around 3:45 a.m. Eight of them are children
"My dad woke me up because he said there was a fire so we all started running out then we got worried so waited for them," Mauricio said.
Downed power lines created a danger for firefighters, forcing crews to stand back and wait until PG&E could shut down the power.
The homes burned for more than an hour. When the owner of the house saw the damage, she was shocked.
"Look at it," said Barbara Fivecoat. "There's nothing left. My husband and I, we started our marriage there 25 years ago
The homes were so badly burned that officials red tagged them both. But first they let residents retrieve some of their essentials, and even some treasures like a precious scrapbook.
"It means a lot, it's like my life right here," said fire victim Douglas Coria.
"That's why you have insurance," said Fivecoat. "Because you don't know when things are going to happen. But god knows and god protected them that's the main thing. God protected the people, the house is replaceable."
No injuries were reported in the fire.