San Jose

Customers, Nearby Residents Speak Out Following Massive San Jose Home Depot Fire

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Customers and South San Jose residents are sharing their experiences following Saturday's massive fire at a Home Depot.

Firefighters said the fire started in the lumber area of the store and investigators are still looking into the cause and whether all the fire suppression measures worked like they were supposed to.

Julia Locus told NBC Bay Area Sunday she was at the Home Depot buying paint, when she heard someone on a loudspeaker said that there was a fire and ordered people to get out.

“At that point, everyone started running to get outside," she said. "I saw this mom running with her kids and everyone was just in shock."

Clean up is underway at the scene of the San Jose Home Depot Fire that destroyed the store Saturday. Officials say the fire began in the lumber section of the store, but investigation continues to reveal more details. Cierra Johnson reports.

Locus shot video of flaming pieces of ceiling falling. Seconds later, the fire alarm can be heard going off. She and her husband got out of the Home Depot safely.

“Within five minutes, I went from standing in the paint section to the entire building covered in smoke and flames. It was quite scary,” Locus said.

The San Jose Fire Department said that all of the customers and employees inside the store got out safely.

According to Locus, she didn’t see any sprinklers go off. San Jose fire said it appeared the sprinklers worked, but added it’s possible that some of them may have been overwhelmed by the intense heat.

More than 100 firefighters worked to stop the flames from spreading to nearby buildings including a pet hospital.

As a precaution, residents living in 15 homes behind the store were ordered to evacuate.

South San Jose resident Aunica Cole was one of them and said she was terrified.

“We were trying to get out. No time to grab anything. Just get out of the house,” she said.

A shelter-in-place order was lifted Sunday due to the improved air quality.

Residents nearby the Home Depot have returned to their homes as fire crews spent Sunday mopping up.

A fleet of huge water trucks were brought in to collect the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water used to douse the flames, in order to prevent it from getting into the Bay.

Nearby businesses including Olive Garden and Burger King that shut down early Saturday night because of the fire have now reopened.

For Locus, she said that seeing videos of the engulfed Home Depot is a scary reminder of her close call.

“I am so thankful that myself and everyone else got out OK,” she said.

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