HEMET (CBSLA) — At least three people were injured while trying to escape a fire that destroyed a carport in a Hemet apartment building.

The fire was reported about 1 a.m. at the Carson Street Apartments, 602 Carson St. How the fire started is suspicious, but there’s no evidence yet that it was arson, Hemet Fire battalion Chief James Majchrazk said.

“When I showed up, I was writing off the building,” he said. It was an massive amount of fire, some of the most Majchrazk says he’s ever seen in his 26-year career.

“When we arrived on scene, there was so much heat, and so many flames. Flames were just shooting 100 feet in the air,” he said.

Firefighters from the Hemet Fire Department and CalFire were able to keep the flames to the carport, which was destroyed, along with all the cars that were parked in it. Several people were injured trying to escape over a spiked security fence.

“We were all had to jump that fence to exit, kids getting thrown over, kids that we don’t even know whose kids it is, getting thrown to us, kids crying,” resident Savannah Sanperio said. She was among the three people who suffered cuts trying to get over the fence, her most serious injury being a deep cut to her abdomen.

Only one person was taken to a hospital, with an ankle injury.

Residents said they believed the fire started in the laundry room, but that has been ruled out by investigators, Majchrazk said. Evidence indicates the fire started in the center of the carport and fanned out, but the cause is still under investigation.

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