PACOIMA (CBSLA.com) — Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a condominium fire that displaced 11 people Saturday afternoon in Pacoima.
Firefighters were at the scene for hours, and crews were still there after dark boarding up windows after many of the residents of the building lost all of their belongings.
Gerald Harris tried to knock on as many doors as possible to let people know a fire had started at the complex in the 12300 block of West Osborne Street.
“Very traumatizing and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone especially around the holidays like this.. It’s very sad,” Harris told KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper on Saturday night.
Dramatic cell phone video taken by a resident Claudia Abrego shows flames shooting out as a neighbor yells “somebody open the gate,” and then calls for people to leave the building.
Two children were believed to be trapped inside an apartment, but luckily they were with their mother. Their older brother, Nestor Martinez, said it was frightening.
“I didn’t know anything at the moment cause I was stuck in traffic trying to come back, and they didn’t let me in,” Martinez said.
One person was sent to the hospital with burns and is in serious condition.
“I saw the man of the house just dive out of the garage and he was just peeling with flames,” Harris said.
In addition to displacing 11 people, the fire killed seven exotic birds, and a cat is missing. Neighbors say it’s tragic, especially being so close to the holidays.