Man burned in Antioch fire

January 1, 2008 9:49:22 AM PST
An elderly man who suffered burns to his face, chest and back after a fire broke out in his Antioch apartment early this morning is lucky his building is equipped with an indoor sprinkler system, fire officials said today.

The two-alarm New Year's Day blaze was reported at 12:39 a.m. in a first floor apartment of an 84-unit senior housing facility located at 615 West Seventh St. Firefighters contained the flames to a couch, carpet and electric blanket inside unit No. 109 where the fire broke out, Contra Costa County fire Battalion Chief Mark McCullah said.

"No doubt had there not been sprinklers, the fire would have extended to next apartment and up to the second floor," McCullah said.

A third alarm was initially sounded but canceled because the 34 firefighters already on scene extinguished the flames by 1 a.m. and many residents had evacuated themselves by the time fire officials responded, according to McCullah.

The victim was transported to University of California, Davis Medical Center for treatment to his non-life threatening burns, according to McCullah.

The victim, who uses an oxygen tank to assist his breathing, was smoking a cigarette when the blaze ignited, McCullah said.

The fire caused an estimated total of $25,000 to $30,000 in damage to the building, according to McCullah.

The resident who lives in unit No. 107, next door to the unit where the fire occurred, was relocated due to smoke and water damage, McCullah said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, McCullah said.