NBC Bay Area
Residents called 911 just before 2 a.m. Sunday morning, July 7, 2013, to report fire on the second floor of the Hallmark House Apartments, the fire marshal told NBC Bay Area.
A man who died in a six-alarm fire in a Redwood City apartment building on Sunday has been identified as 48-year-old Darin Demello-Pine, according to the San Mateo County coroner's office.
Demello-Pine was the only person to die in the massive fire, which was reported shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday at the Hallmark House Apartments at 531 Woodside Road.
The fire injured more than 20 people, including several firefighters, and displaced more than 100 residents, according to fire officials.
Fire investigators have located the fire's point of origin in a specific upstairs apartment in the 72-unit building, but are still working to determine its cause, Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said today. It remains unclear whether that apartment was Demello-Pine's, Palisi said. "It's going to take some time," he said.
"There is significant damage." Palisi said at this point, the fire does not appear to have been deliberately set. Investigators hope to have better information on the fire's cause by late next week, he said.
According to Palisi, the fire in the four-story building burned fast, and the first responding crews were confronted with a massive rescue effort.
"They were pulling people off of balconies, off stairways. Our primary concern was to get people out of the building," Palisi said.
It was no small task, he said, since the fire took place at a major residential dwelling in the middle of the night while the majority of the residents were sleeping.
"It was very much a heroic effort by all of our emergency services, we did everything we needed to do immediately," Palisi said.
On Tuesday, displaced residents were briefly escorted by fire and police officials back into their units that were either burnt or heavily damaged by water. Residents were given 10 minutes to collect their belongings from their units.
The time constraint, according to city officials, was to best assure the safety of all people entering the charred structure.
The American Red Cross on Thursday closed an overnight shelter at the National Guard Armory at 939 Valota Road established for Hallmark House residents displaced by the fire.
The Red Cross has been working with San Mateo County agencies to transition the residents out of the shelter, spokesperson Pooja Trivedi said.
A client service center that was also located at the armory will be relocated to the North Fair Oaks Community Center on Monday and will operate from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
"The Red Cross and local partners will continue assisting affected residents with their long-term recovery plans while continuing to assess their critical needs," Trivedi said in a statement.
The Red Cross had provided more than 2,300 meals and 112 shelter stays to the displaced residents as of Thursday evening, Trivedi said.
The Salvation Army, located at 660 Veterans Blvd. in Redwood City, is accepting donations of money or clothing for fire victims, city spokesman Malcolm Smith said earlier this week.