'It was really scary': Teen helped sisters, mom to safety during duplex fire in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A duplex fire displaced six people in San Jose and closed North White Road between McKee Road and Eastside Drive for hours.

Still shaken, 17-year-old Jeanette Cruz describes the moments of fear inside her home with her family.

"It was really scary. I was pretty scared for my sisters," said Cruz.

According to San Jose Fire, the calls reporting the blaze came in around 1:53 pm. Cruz says she saw the smoke coming in from her neighbor's home into their apartment.

Her first thought was to save her family.

"I had to take my sisters out and my mom," said Cruz and added, "I saw the other side and I just took my sisters and got them to the front."

Neighbors and nearby business owners saw the smoke and called 911.

"I couldn't see the fire just black smoke on the sky coming down," said Moon Lee, who owns Korean Fusion BBQ.

San Jose Fire confirmed the apartment where the fire began is a single occupancy unit.

A neighbor who decided not to show his face in fear of retaliation says the person who lived in that unit was known to San Jose Police.

"One time at two-o-clock in the morning I was drinking a cup of coffee and you would see people strolling in," said the neighbor.

San Jose Fire says the Cruz family's unit sustained smoke and water damage. They are now staying at a hotel provided by the Red Cross.

A total of six people were displaced by this fire.

No injuries were reported and arson investigators were on scene.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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