Gilroy apartment fire displaces seven people

GILROY, Calif.

The fire started in the kitchen of unit 11 around 6:30 p.m.

It took just a few minutes to burn the two-bedroom apartment.

"Once it got going and burning the contents of that apartment, it broke through the windows and then came up through and got into the windows of the upstairs," Division Chief Colin Martin said.

The two men in that apartment got out safely. They quickly called other neighbors to help.

"I hear a window break and I went outside. I see the other guy with a fire extinguisher turning it off. He's like 'help me, go grab the other one and help me turn it off,"' resident Juan Salazar said.

Salazar did more than that. He jumped into the burning apartment to see if anyone was trapped.

Luckily, the family of five wasn't home and Salazar made it out with only a few cuts on his hands.

The fire was already out by the time Regina Chi and her family got home and saw what was left.

A relative told ABC7 News the kitchen stove has been malfunctioning for months.

"It sounding to me like an electrical problem or whatever it is, but she has been complaining to them like this stove has a problem," a relative said.

While investigators piece together what happened, those living in the other eight units of the apartment complex had no choice but to stand by and wait.

Resident Felix Lagones grabbed a few pairs of clothes in case the entire building would be off limits. But it wasn't for just about everyone.

Apartment managers gave those in the burnt units a place to stay in another complex.

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