FREMONT, Calif. (KTVU) - Several Fremont families are homeless after a three alarm fire destroyed parts of a sprawling, 253 unit apartment complex. No lives were lost and no injuries to people and pets in the blaze. Fire officials say residents made a 911 call around 2:15 p.m., of flames and smoke at Fremont’s Eaves Apartment complex..
“They saw some smoke coming from the back side of it,” said resident Chowdary Malempadi.
Four second floor units inside Building-J were burning, and another eight first floor units were heavily damaged by water and ash. Gusty winds and growing flames pushed the single alarm blaze to three alarms, as Fremont Fire received help from Milpitas and Alameda County firefighters..
“We had some concerns that the fire might spread to another building which is separated by a small breezeway. But crews were able to get water lines and latter trucks up pretty quickly and put up a pretty good defense of the other buildings,” said Fremont Fire Department division chief Doug McKelvey.
Firefighters say the flames were out in an hour, but that was just the start of another kind of angst for some of the 34 affected residents.
“I don’t know what to do for today’s dinner or where to stay,” said fire victim Singam Rasokkiyam.
He says his wife and two children weren’t home at the time of the fire. But important personal documents – passports and work visas – were inside his second floor home. Half the house was destroyed, half still able to be searched by first responders..
“All my personal items are in there. But the passports are important, so I asked them to bring out. I’m not sure about the other documents. I have some as well as my wife also. But not sure. I wanna get in there and check it out,” said Rasokkiyam.
As fire investigators continue searching for the fire’s cause, some families wait to begin a search for documents tied directly to their economic survival..
“I told them, the firefighters, to bring out my passports. They brought them out already,” Rasokkiyam said.
The Red Cross is providing financial assistance to 34 victims. And the City of Fremont is paying for hotel rooms for 10 families tonight. They suggest renters check with their insurance companies to see if their possessions can be replaced.