Residents Return to Retrieve Items from Fire

Mountain View Fire Department says approximately 50 displaced by fire; Injured fire fighter released from hospital Monday night.

A resilient, but emotional group of residents gathered at school for a morning briefing after a fire destroyed several apartments and left many temporarily displaced.

Officials from the and volunteers from the continued to update them on the affects of the , which started mid-afternoon on Monday, Feb. 27 and required the help of four neighboring fire departments. They encouraged the residents to ask and accept the help of the Red Cross.

Fire Chief Brad Wardle gave them sobering news, "you only have 15 minutes to retrieve what you can today," said to the group. "Nothing has changed since last night with the buildong and out biggest concern is your safety."

Wardle referred to the structural integrity of the building. The fire ravaged five units–55 to 59–and left many others with either water or smoke damage—or both. Around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, fire fighters continued to spray water into the units located in the middle of the structure. Department Spokeswoman told Patch that the roof awning over the driveway had fallen that morning.

The chief added that investigators still don't know where the fire started.

The MVFD does not know when the residents whose apartments suffered minor damage would be able to get back into their apartments. "Could tomorrow or a few days from now," said Wardle.

The residents returned to the building and were paired up with fire fighters. With hard hats on their heads and card board file boxes in hands, they entered the building. Some retrieved medication, a baby carrier, books, computers, clothes. One persons walked out with only a burnt suitcase and his passport.

A glimmer of light in the aftermath—a man worried about his 9-year-old cat found her alive.

The Dana Garden Apartment leasing office tried to see how they can be further assisted. Unfortunately, the complex had only one vacant apartment–a one bedroom–which another resident from building 'C' quickly got.

"We are trying to see what we can do," said Djazia Lakabi, a leasing agent. "We are working with the Mountain View Fire Department to see when we can get residents back in."

Lakabi explained that the property's insurance will not cover the individual units.

The resident of unit 68, Scott Owen, shared that he's lucky that his place only suffered a little bit of damage. He's wants to remain at the complex where he's lived for two years because it's "cheap."

"I can afford something else, but that means less money in my pocket," he said. "It's a nice quiet street and it's affordable."

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