A six-alarm fire raced through a 75-unit Redwood City apartment building early Thursday, injuring four residents, authorities said.
The fire, at the four-story Terrace Apartments located at 926 Woodside Road near Union Avenue, was reported at about 5:15 a.m., according to fire officials.
Arriving firefighters, were greeted by residents streaming out of the building and flames billowing out of the top floor. It was quickly escalated to five alarms and then increased to six alarms with mutual aid.
In all, 20 fire eingines and more than 100 firefighters battled the blaze.
Fire Marshall Jim Palisi said at four people were injured. Two suffered moderate injures and two others minor injuries. All of the injured were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Palisi said there were four people unaccounted for but they were believed to be at work or away on vacation.
Noy Savanh was in the shower when he heard the alarms go off. He quickly dressed and got his wife, daughter and a cousin out of the building.
"My wife was in tears," he said. "My little daughter was shaking...It was pretty scary."
Terry Ramirez told KTVU she saw fellow residents lowered themselves from a third-story balcony as their apartment filled with smoke.
"I saw the tenants on the third floor, trying to climb over the side of the balcony," she said of the chaotic scene. "They had ropes and were climbing down...The firefighters arrived, put up a ladder and helped them to the ground."
Casey Sewell said he and his wife climbed over their balcony to escape the smoke and flames.
"I grabbed my wife and we actually climbed down the balcony," he said. "To get down to the second floor, and then we ran through the second floor to get out."
As of about 6:15 a.m. the roof of the building had collapsed and flames could be seen coming from the entire top floor of the building. Around 7 a.m., firefighters began battling in the blaze in a defensive manner fearing further collapses. Just before 9 a.m., Palisi said the fire was nearly out but that there were still some hotspots in the building.
"The damage (inside) is quite extensive," he said.
Palisi said the building was equipped with smoke alarms, but not sprinkler because it was built before a law requiring them was in effect.
"It would have a huge difference, absolutely," he said.
Palisi said while the cause of the fire had not been determined, the blaze did begin in a fourth floor apartment.
Red Cross workers were on the scene and opened an evacuation center at the Red Morton Community Center.
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