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Two-Alarm Fire Ignites Hidden Gardens Apartments

Police and fire units responded to the scene of the Hidden Gardens Apartments at 1571 El Camino Real, behind the Comfort Inn, to get a morning blaze under control.

Updated at 11:05 a.m. with number of apartments affected and fire investigation information.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. with quotes from apartment manager.

A two-alarm fire in the at 1571 El Camino Real this morning has abruptly awakened residents and added unexpected traffic to some in Mountain View this morning.

Five apartments have been deemed uninhabitable due to either water or smoke damage, according to Mountain View Fire Department spokesman Lynn Brown said.

Mountain View Police officers, the first to arrive, began to evacuate apartments on the second floor, specifically units 21 through 24, where the smoke was concentrated. The determination of where the fire may have started has yet to be made, Brown said. No injuries have been reported.

Traffic was also reduced down to one lane eastbound on El Camino Real near Mariposa Avenue.

According to a few moms who lingered several feet from their apartments, they awoke to the acrid smell of smoke. Others awoke to the "heavy banging" on their doors.

One resident, a computer programmer up working, said someone forcefully knocked on his door, then he heard the knob turn. He was told to "grab shoes and a jacket" and to evacuate his apartment.

The fire was extinguished around 8:30 a.m., but firefighters remained on the roof of the building because of "hot spots," Patch observed and heard on the scene.

Debbie Besson, the apartment manager at the site of today's two-alarm fire, said she was preparing to go into her office on the premises when she saw smoke barrelling out of the laundry room on the first floor of building 1. 

She added that a few residents and the building's maintenance man grabbed fire extinguishers and tried to put the blaze out. At some point someone called 9-1-1, but she didn't know who. Besson confirmed that the complex has 77 units.

The Red Cross arrived to assist the displaced. Fire investigators will work to identify the cause and origin of the fire. Moffett Field Fire Department provided mutual aid assistance.

"We were lucky," Besson said.

Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Claudia Cruz reported from the scene

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