SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - San Jose arson investigators are trying to determine the cause of an early Monday morning fire that left one elderly woman dead and 20 neighbors displaced.
San Jose fire crews responded minutes after residents called for help in the 1300 block of Foxdale Loop in East San Jose.
“And then I looked and there was a lot of smoke billowing out of the doorway,” said Harris Winns, an evacuee living next door to the fire scene.
Firefighters rushed to put out flames burning apartment 111 in a multi-building complex near Story Road. Investigators say the flames started on the lower level and spread up to the second floor. Everyone escaped, accept an older, unidentified woman, who was trapped by the flames.
“We were able to make access to the second floor of the fire apartment and we did confirm one fatality at t that point,” said San Jose Fire Dept. captain Mitch Matlow.
Four neighboring apartment units sustained smoke and water damage, forcing approximately 20 residents from their homes.
“Yeah it’s stressful I guess. You can’t stay here,” said neighbor and evacuee Maria Teran.
For Harris Winns and others, the two-alarmer’s destruction means moving to a motel or another rental unit in the short-term, as he tries to figure out a long-term solution for his family of six.
“We have some assistance from the apartment complex as well. So we’ll be okay for the next few days. We have family members in the area as well, if it takes longer. So, we’ll be okay,” said Winns.
Investigators say the burned unit will be boarded up until a county arson task force can be assembled, and go inside Wednesday, dig through the debris, and try to determine what caused this fatal fire.