Local News

Jun 29, 2010 2:16 AM by Ariel Wesler

Attic fire displaces families and businesses

Flames roar through a Pismo Beach complex leaving dozens on the streets tonight.

The two alarm fire ripped through the building at the intersection of Pomeroy and Dolliver street early this evening in downtown Pismo Beach. It contains both businesses and an apartment complex.

Mark Santos and his sister, Maria are just one of 11 families displaced by the fire damage to a mixed use building in Pismo Beach. Santos was working across the street when he saw smoke.

"Everybody thought it was maybe a false siren, or a tow truck or something and then when they opened the door and realized the smoke. That's when everyone started running around. . .and I realized that my sister and her baby were up in the room on the other side of the apartment," Santos said.

He quickly got over there and woke them up in time.

"I told him. Get the baby. Go! Get the dogs. Go! And I got a couple of my belongings and ran out," said Maria Calloway.

Nearly 50 firefighters responded and got the fire under control within 45 minutes, but the smoke and water did the most damage.

"The fire department's cleaning out the water damage as best they can, protecting what they can't get out. We'll lock it up and deal with it in the morning, said Landlord Don Day.

Fire officials says the flames started started in the attic inside a tattoo parlor on the second story. The structure was built in 1927 and the owner says he recently did a 300,000 dollar retrofit and rennovation.

"I'm more concerned about my tenants upstairs who live here that are on limited budgets, that have issues. They have living issues," Day said.

In the meantime, Maria is thankful for her younger brother.

"He's a hero now. She'll know that he saved her life when she was 5 months. Thank God. I don't want to know what happened if he didn't come in," she said.

KSBY News learned the San Luis Obispo County Red Cross is taking care of those residents who have nowhere to go tonight. No injuries were reported.

No official damage estimates have been released, but the landlord expects the total damage to exceed 100,000 dollars.

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