OAKLAND — One resident was injured and dozens of other residents displaced in a three-alarm fire Saturday morning at a downtown apartment complex, officials said.
The injured man, who was hospitalized with smoke inhalation, was one of eight residents rescued from balconies by firefighters.
The fire broke out just after 5 a.m. at the Alice Lake Apartments, 1553 Alice St., a three-story, 96-unit building, officials said.
The fire started in a second-floor apartment on the 17th Street side of the building, apparently in the kitchen, Fire Chief Anthony Sanders said.
Most residents were able to get out on their own, but eight had to be rescued from balconies by firefighters who used ladders to get to them. No firefighters were injured.
One of the rescued was Caitlin Reynolds, a second-floor resident who has lived in the building on the Alice Street side for more than two years.
Reynolds, a nurse, said she was awakened by a fire alarm going off in the hallway and when she looked out of her peephole, “she saw people running down the hallway with sweatshirts over their mouths and noses.”
“I opened the door a crack and I saw smoke coming from the stairwell. I was shocked when I saw the smoke. It was horrible.”
She called her best friend who lives opposite and woke her up. “I told her, ‘Wake up, the building is on fire.’ She came to my apartment and we climbed onto the balcony and I yelled to the firefighters, ‘Up here, get us out.’” After the firefighters got her off the balcony, she said she was very relieved. “I was just very ecstatic.”
More than 60 firefighters arrived on the scene. At 5:45 a.m., the fire was declared under control
The cause of the fire is under investigation, Sanders said. An exact amount of damage has not yet been determined, but it is easily in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, officials said.
Sanders said all residents would be temporarily displaced, but it is not yet known what the long-term consequences will be. Residents were assisted by the Red Cross.