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Residents jump from second-story balcony to escape Paso Robles apartment fire

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Posted at 4:46 PM, Sep 21, 2021

Forty Paso Robles residents who were living in eight different apartment units had to find other places to sleep Tuesday night after a fire.

The call came in just before 8:15 a.m. Tuesday of a structure fire in the 1200 block of Alamo Creek Drive.

More than three dozen firefighters responded while police worked to get nearby residents evacuated at the Dry Creek Apartments.

In total, two apartment units were destroyed with two others sustaining smoke damage.

Four others have no electricity so they're currently uninhabitable as well.

Most residents were at school or work when the fire broke out.

"It was unlike anything I had ever seen before," said bottom floor resident Alexis Santiago.

Santiago, who had just woken up, tried to put out the flames that started on his back porch to no avail.

"We realized it was too much and we weren't going to be able to put it out if we wanted to so we just grabbed everything we could grab, our phones, car keys and whatnot and we just bailed out of there," Santiago said.

By the time he and his aunt escaped through the front door, which was the only exit left, smoke and flames were consuming the inside of their home.

"They were just roaring out more and more," Santiago said. "I didn't know who to say anything to. I didn't know what to do. I just kind of stood there and watched the apartment."

Meanwhile, on the top floor, Pedro Vargas said his uncle heard glass popping and woke him up to tell him there was a fire.

"As soon as I went out to the hallway there was just pure smoke and then ran into my mom's room which was more clear and we took out the screen door and we proceeded to jump out," Vargas explained.

He and his uncle jumped out of a second-story window.

"Nothing was going through my mind. I was disorientated because I had just woken up and I quickly came to the realization like there's smoke, fire and we had to get out fast," Vargas said.

While belongings were destroyed, no one was injured in the fire.

"We all have our lives so we have that to be grateful for," Santiago said.

The fire department says a dog died as a result of the fire.

The cause is under investigation.

The residents on the bottom floor were in the process of moving so they already have a new place secured.

They say they're taking this as a fresh start.

The Red Cross is assisting other residents displaced by the fire with housing, clothing, and food, among other necessities.