Couple jumps out window, loses 6 cats in Garden Grove apartment fire

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- An apartment complex erupted in flames early Thursday morning in Garden Grove, leaving at least two units damaged and six cats dead.

Authorities said the blaze was reported shortly before 3 a.m. in the 13300 block of El Prado Avenue. When firefighters arrived, they found a man hanging and then falling from a second story window.

That man, Marco Hernandez, spoke with Eyewitness News and said he and his wife were trying to escape the blaze.

"The alarm woke me and my wife. As we woke up, there was a lot of smoke that filled the upper room - our room. The thing is, by the time we knew it, everything was engulfed in smoke. So I went ahead and let my wife down through the window and soon after that, I went ahead and let myself on down," he said.

He added they both landed and neighbors were downstairs trying to help them get out. Hernandez said he was holding his wife so she could make it safely out the window and as she jumped, their neighbors caught her.

"By that time, it was my turn, but there was nobody there to catch me," he said, with a laugh.

He and his wife said they were able to get out two of their own cats.

Fire officials said both Hernandez and his wife appeared to be OK and did not need to be transported to a hospital for further evaluation.

Fire officials said the fire appeared to start on the first floor and had quickly spread to the second one. About 55 firefighters were able to knock down the blaze in about half an hour.

When crews entered the building, no one was found inside but they did discover six cats had died in the fire. Luckily, two other cats were alive and rescued from the unit.

Capt. Thanh Nguyen said at least two units were damaged in the blaze, but that a further assessment would be done and he expected the number to go up. At least 12 people were displaced.

The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.
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