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Burning candle blamed for sparking SLO apartment fire

Posted at 7:12 AM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 13:32:45-04

Fire officials say four college students are lucky to be alive after a fire broke out at their San Luis Obispo apartment early Friday morning.

San Luis Obispo City Fire Battalion Chief Neal Berryman says crews were called to the scene on the 200 block of California Blvd. at about 4:45 a.m.

San Luis Obispo police also responded to the scene and posted video of the fire to the department’s Facebook page.

When firefighters arrived, they found a fire on the first floor of the apartment building. Everyone living in the apartment had already evacuated, thanks to a Good Samaritan who noticed the smoke and flames and woke up the residents, officials say, although Fire Chief Keith Aggson says one person did receive a minor first-degree burn and was treated on scene.

“It’s amazing that they got out because we could have easily four fatalities,” Chief Berryman told KSBY News.

Berryman says the apartment residents had disabled their smoke detectors and may have not woken up in time, if not for the person who knocked on their door.

Firefighters determined the fire was started by a burning candle on a nightstand that caught other materials on fire.

The door to the room the fire started in was closed, which kept the fire from spreading, Aggson said, adding that the complex does not have a fire sprinkler system.

The 200 block of California Blvd. was closed briefly Friday morning but has since reopened.


Photo: SLO City Fire Chief Kieth Aggson
Photo: SLO City Fire Chief Keith Aggson
Photo: SLO City Fire Chief Kieth Aggson
Photo: SLO City Fire Chief Keith Aggson