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San Clemente condo complex consumed by fire

January 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A fast-moving fire tore through a condominium complex in San Clemente Friday and was under investigation.The American Red Cross arrived Friday afternoon to offer assistance to victims of the fire.

Six adults and two children are without a home after the fire.

Firefighters were called to a four-plex on the 200 block of El Portal in San Clemente just after 1 p.m. Friday.

The building was fully engulfed in flames.

Maryann Daniel in the building next door heard someone yelling for her to get out.

"I opened my front door and I saw black smoke and then fire coming over our railing," said Daniel. "I slammed the door and I told my mom to run towards the back of the house. That was the only free space. There was no other way to get out of the house. When my mom got to the back, there was neighbors in the backside, and they were like, 'Come on, get down, get down,' and they were throwing ladders over. They helped my mom and myself get down."

Firefighters rushed to make sure none of the eight residents was inside the burning building.

"We were concerned about the buildings next door on each side, people trapped there, but actually we were able to find out they were out, and we were able to keep the fire from engulfing those units as well," said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown.

Fortunately no one was injured, but authorities say all four condos are no longer habitable.

"It's bad but it could be a lot worse. Everybody's out, everybody's OK. We all have jobs. We can recover from it," said Chris Burk, who lives in the building.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire.

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