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1 dead, many displaced from apartment fire

January 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An investigation is under way Sunday into what caused a deadly fire at a retirement living complex in Anaheim.Residents were given time Sunday morning to retrieve some of their belongings from their home at the Miracle Terrace retirement complex on 225 South Western Ave.

They were forced to evacuate quickly when fire raced through one of the buildings Saturday night.

"Somebody knocked on the door, and I don't know what happened. I came out and looked at that side, and all the fire came out," described resident Yung Yon.

The blaze broke out around 7 p.m. at a second floor unit. As the flames reached apartments on the third floor, witnesses ran to help residents escape.

"It was just burning very, very quickly and it went to the third floor. My husband actually ran across to the building and started knocking on all the doors to get people out," said Jennifer Shin, a resident's daughter-in-law.

"The apartment was on fire, and I was hoping that the people that were living there had gotten out. But the fire was about two or three feet, and coming out of the window. It burned the apartment above it and the roof," described Charles Cunnert, a resident's son.

It took Anaheim fire crews more than an hour to get the blaze under control.

"We made one rescue off of the second floor, and evacuation groups were responsible for getting everybody out of the second and third floors," said Chief Dennis Hambleton of the Anaheim Fire Department.

However, firefighters could not save an elderly woman who lived on the second floor.

Fire officials say that it may be difficult to determine the exact cause of the blaze because there was so much damage inside the unit where the elderly woman died.

The fire burned four apartments, but occupants of all 39 units have been displaced because of so much smoke and water damage. Officials do not suspect arson.