CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) - More than two dozen people are without a home after a fire burned a condo building on Laguna Street in Concord Monday afternoon.
The families who call this place home are struggling to find another place to live.
On this chilly December night, families are faced with the cold reality of just having lost their home.
Among them, 11-year-old Cesar Ceja.
Just before 2 o'clock Monday afternoon, Cesar was home with his grandmother when the fire broke out in a downstairs unit.
He opened his front door and saw flames.
"I got scared and I had to go to the balcony. I saw people saying to jump. I said no, I'm scared," says the 6th grader.
Firefighters used a ladder to rescue the boy and his grandmother.
Fire Marshal Robert Marshall with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District tells KTVU the fire started in the area of a wall heater, but says the cause isn't known yet.
Marshall says the flames spread quickly in part because it burned gas meters and the electrical system.
"That would have affected gas in this space which would have it burn much faster," says Marshall who showed KTVU the severely burned gas meters and electrical system.
A preschool teacher says she was out looking to buy a car when the fire broke out in her building.
"I had a car accident yesterday, but I guess I have to put that on hold," says Yaneldis Diaz.
Now, she's lost her home too.
"I have to put priorities in place," says Diaz.
The tenants say the Red Cross is putting them up in hotels for the next few days, but they still need a home.
"They're giving us money to go to hotels but they told us that they'll be spending six months to repair, so we don't know what we're going to do in six months," says Galilea Ceja,
The 16-year-old spoke for her family. Single mom Sonia Garcia doesn't speak English. The family says they can't afford to pay more than $1,600 a month in rent.
"We don't know what to do. We don't know where we're going," says Galilea.
Two tenants were able to get into their condo to retrieve their cats.
Everyone we spoke to say they are relieved no one was seriously injured.
The fire marshal says crews will keep an eye out for flare-ups.
A gofundme has been organized for the dispaced victims.