Peninsula News

Burlingame fire displaces as many as 50 residents

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grease may have been the cause of an apartment fire in Burlingame that left about 50 people without a place to live Saturday.

Most of the people who live on the bottom two floors of the building will be able to return home later Saturday, but the Red Cross is having a hard time finding accommodation for those in 25 other units.

Investigators believe burning grease caused the blaze, which then erupted, rushing across the hall and down the entire top floor.

Units on the third floor are uninhabitable due to smoke and heat and those on the first and second floors of the building have heavy water damage, according to Deputy Chief Mark Ladas of the Central County Fire Department.

Resident Cristal Soltero was shaken up by the fire. She said the it was the loss of sentimental items that was hitting her most.

The Red Cross set up a disaster center inside the complex's club house where displaced residents could get food, water and even a place to sleep.

Normally the Red Cross would put people up in hotels, but the US Open is impacting the search for rooms.

"Unfortunately right now, there are not very many hotel rooms available. The US Open has apparently filled up a lot of hotel rooms," Red Cross volunteer Barbara Wood said.

While the Red Cross continues to look for lodging, the fire department investigates, especially after several residents raised the same concern.

"The fire alarms didn't go off and I didn't hear anything at all," one resident told firefighters.

Some residents said the alarm sounded once they were just about out of the building. The complex uses manual fire alarms.

Investigators are checking the entire system to see if smoke detectors, which aren't required to be hooked up to the siren system, were working.

North Park Management would not comment on the fire or on the alarm system. All they would say is that they're looking into the allegations.

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fire, burlingame, peninsula news, lisa amin gulezian
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