Two people were injured when a two-alarm fire broke out at a Sunnyvale apartment complex Friday afternoon, officials said.
Sunnyvale Fire Department Capt. Shawn Ahearn said smoke was reported at Twin Pines Manor Apartments at 1066 Sunnyvale Saratoga Road at 12:54 p.m. Between 30 and 50 people were displaced when the building was evacuated and crews battled the flames, he said.
Firefighters rescued several residents, plucking them from their balconies. "Heavy smoke and heat" prevented from entering the interior hallway and going downstairs Friday, Ahearn said.
Two women were transported to the hospital, Ahearn said. One suffered from burns and the other from smoke inhalation, he said, but couldn't confirm the severity of their wounds.
"The difficulty behind fighting this fire was there was heavy smoke and heat within the hallways of the apartment complex and we also had damage to the roof in one section that was making it difficult to get to the other areas," Ahearn said.
Sunnyvale Saratoga Road was closed between E. Fremont and E. Remington avenues as 30 to 40 firefighters responded to the blaze. Officials are asking people to avoid the area for at least the next several hours as crews put out the fire, clean up the area and investigate the cause of the fire.
Resident Alice Larimore said she was assailed by the smell of smoke while sitting in her living room Friday. A quick look reassured the woman that she hadn't left a burner on.
However, someone who lived in the apartment across the hallway from Larimore's house had "left the burner on and that's where the whole fire started," she said.
For his part, Ahearn only said that officials will be working to ascertain where and how the blaze sparked as well as whether the building had smoke detectors.
According to Larimore, a fellow tenant and the building manager tried to enter the house where the fire appeared to have originated and put it out with a rag. But thick, black smoke forced them out of the apartment so they began knocking on people's doors and urged them to vacate the building, she said.
Looking at the building, Ahearn said she was "almost 100 percent sure" that she had "lost" her home because it is "all black in there."
"It was pretty terrifying," she said. "I never thought our place would burn up."
The Red Cross was on scene to help the displaced residents find a place to sleep.