According to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, the blaze started at about 2:45 p.m. in the shared attic space of a two-story apartment building.
- Now, dozens of people are displaced tonight after a fire ripped through their apartment building in the Inland Empire.
- That's right. And all the tenants escaped unharmed, but some of the pets did not. Flames breaking out just before 4:00 this afternoon on West seventh in Upland. KCAL 9's Nicole Comstock is there live with the very latest tonight. Nicole.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: Yeah, Pat and Jeff. Lots of families are out of their homes tonight in Upland, and fire crews tell us these flames spread to so many apartments so quickly because of where this fire started.
Fire wreaks havoc on an apartment building in Upland. It started in a shared attic, and wind fanned the flames throughout it, creating a domino effect of fire damage across many of the connected units, displacing dozens of families.
DEBRA PEREZ: It went by really fast. It started upstairs in one of the corner apartments and then it rushed to the middle.
MIKE MCCLINTOCK: 51 units have been impacted by either smoke water or fire damage directly.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: First rescue crews search for any people potentially trapped inside. Thankfully, everyone who lived here made it out safely, but many helpless pets were trapped and had to be rescued.
- Just like he said in the closet.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: They're towelling them off and calming them down.
- She's OK, she's OK. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. We thought she was dead.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: This man is finally coming down too, learning that his cat survived. He really loves her.
- Can we take her?
- You can. Totally.
DEBRA PEREZ: I grabbed my animals, my purse my keys, and let's go.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: But Debra Perez says some of her neighbors didn't have that chance.
DEBRA PEREZ: Awful thing is that we did lose some animals in the building, that their families were at work, and they weren't able to get them out.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: Everyone else lost pretty much everything they owned.
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ: We barely moved into this place two days ago. And now, we're going to find a new home again.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: Miguel and Celine say it will be a struggle to start over again.
CELINE MASON: We've just got settled in basically last night. And now, we have to do it all over again.
NICOLE COMSTOCK: But they're happy that the Red Cross and local schools are helping all these other families find shelter tonight. And again, none of the people who lived here were hurt, but one firefighter did have to be taken to a hospital with a heat related illness. Still no cause on this fire either. Reporting live in Upland tonight. I'm Nicole Comstock, KCAL 9 News.
- All right, Nicole. Thank you. So tragic there.