An early Tuesday morning fire at the Villa Monterey Apartment Complex in South San Jose gutted one unit, forcing the two men inside to escape by jumping off the second floor.
Next-door neighbor Forest Hancock, who has disabilities and must use a wheelchair, told NBC Bay Area that neighbors and firefighters helped him evacuate from the second-floor. That’s when he took in the whole scene.
“The whole balcony was engulfed in flames. A guy jumped from the windows. The people next door, they didn’t come out the front door because the fire was in the front room. They busted out the windows, the bedroom windows next to my apartment.”
San Jose Fire Captain Rob Brown said one of the two men suffered second-degree burns to his arms and was taken to a local hospital where he's expected to be OK. According to Brown, the blaze began at 2:57 a.m. with first crews responding on scene at 3:06 a.m., before elevating the blaze to a two-alarm fire. Fire crews evacuated eleven other people in three adjacent apartments.
Firefighters were able to get the fire under control down by 3:30 a.m. but stayed on scene for a few hours to investigate, mop up and monitor for flare-ups. As protocol, at least one arson investigator was on scene, but Brown says the cause of the fire is still unknown. In all, two neighboring units suffered some minor damage.