Residents recall terrifying Anaheim apartment fire

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Witnesses are recalling the dramatic, chaotic scenes as a fire ripped through an apartment complex in Anaheim, leaving some 80 people without a home Sunday.

The massive fire Saturday night damaged 22 apartment units with flames, smoke and water. Three adults and a child were taken to hospitals for minor smoke inhalation.

Witnesses said first responders braved the flames and smoke to help people evacuate.

"I just saw police officers climbing on roofs, breaking in windows, breaking down fences, residents helping, smoke coming out pretty black and dark," said Cintia Valle.

Firefighters arrived to active flames in both first and second-floor apartments and ripping through stairwells and hallways.

Anaheim Fire and Rescue spokesman Daron Wyatt says some people left their doors open in the rush to evacuate - and that contributed to the fire's spread.

"When you leave your house, close all the doors inside, because that prevents it (from spreading)," Wyatt said. "If you have a fire in a room, it will keep it contained and lessen the damage. The fire will burn itself out."

As the flames raged from unit to unit, some residents were forced onto their second-floor balconies.

"Everybody out here was pretty much telling two people that were up on the balcony to jump, jump - they were below them trying to catch them," Ramon Gardea said.

"The guys that jumped didn't land picture-perfect. But they got out."
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