- Reporters Desk
A small fire burned through an apartment of two-floor complex at about shortly after 4 p.m. May 19, on the 700 block of 16th Street in San Pedro.
“I was watching TV and I smelled something burning,” said María Guadalupe Alvarez, the tenant in the lower level apartment. “I turned around and saw the fire.”
Alvarez said that though she does not know what the cause of the fire was, she believes it started outside.
Her neighbor Rebecca Jones, who was sitting on her porch smoking a cigarette, rushed to her aid. They tried to fight the fire with a garden hose but that did not work.
“I was surprised at how fast I moved,” Jones said. “I didn’t think I could move that fast anymore.”
The windows exploded. Jones yelled for her not to get closed and screamed for the upstairs apartment occupants to come out. The woman who lived upstairs was bathing her child and rushed out.
The women called 911. The living room and kitchen were destroyed. Alvarez still did not know if any of the other rooms were damaged.
“It felt like it took 10 or 15 minutes,” said Alvarez, who rushed out of her apartment without shoes. “My purse was inside with money, my personal papers, computer, certificates.”
Alvarez did not know where she and her family were going to spend the night but officials told the residents of the upstairs unit that the damage on their apartment was minimal, but due to the smoke they may not be able to stay in the unit, at least for the night.