Families displaced by 3-alarm apartment fire in Redwood City


Firefighters red-tagged the building that went up in flames, while the one next door remains evacuated because they're worried that the one that burned could collapse.

Firefighters say this fire was so huge they had to pull their crews out and fight it from the outside.

People sleeping in the two apartment buildings woke up to a huge fire around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

"I opened the door and I immediately, like, choked on black thick smoke, so the fire was pretty heavy by then, and I just told everybody to get out, that was the only option," fire victim Luis Melgoza said.

Melgoza didn't even have time to put on shoes as he tried to evacuate the six people living inside his apartment.

"Nothing," he said. "Not even my keys, my phone, nothing. I was just worried about my mom and my brothers."

Firefighters first heard that cars were on fire in the apartment's carport. Firefighters haven't confirmed that's where it started, but say it spread quickly to the building.

Two people were hurt; one with minor burns and one injured an arm. Everyone managed to get out okay, thanks to residents helping each other.

"Sleeping right there, and suddenly somebody knocked on the door and told us to get out," fire victim Jose Rodriguez said.

This happened across the street from Fair Oaks Elementary School. The campus was partially blocked by fire trucks, and the school even provided a place for evacuees to gather. But the principal assured parents that classes would not be interrupted.

"They left a message on cellphones and home phones," parent Laura Salcedo said. "Saying, the principal, that there would be classes, don't worry, come, it's safe, so we came."

ATF investigators are on scene. When asked why, firefighters told us that everything's suspicious until it's ruled out. At this point firefighters do not know what caused the three-alarm fire, but they say they often rely on the ATF because of their investigative tools.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.