San Jose firefighters escort trapped residents off balconies during five-alarm blaze

San Jose firefighters on Monday raced to put out a five-alarm fire at Summer Winds Apartments, which displaced dozens and for a time, trapped some of the residents on the balconies, firefighters said.

In the end, firefighters were able to safely escort everyone out of the 36-unit complex at 2079 McLaughlin Avenue near US Highway 101 and Tully Road - without the need for any dramatic jumps.

Heather Smith, who awoke to the sounds of people shouting "fire, fire," said she saw people trying to jump from the third floor of one of the two units on fire. "I ran over to the firefighter," she said, "to get a ladder instead." 

The fire broke out shortly before 6 a.m. for an unknown reason on the second floor of one of the units, according to Public Information Officer Mitch Matlow. Fifteen people suffered some smoke inhalation and four of those people were taken to the hospital as a precaution, firefighters said.