Sacto 9-1-1
February 27, 2012
Fire prompts evacuation of 9-story Sacramento apartment building

The nine-story Capitol Terraces Apartments were evacuated this evening after a fire broke out in a unit on the first floor shortly after 6 p.m.

Assistant Chief Niko King said residents of the building's 108 units at 18th Street and Capitol Avenue had to be brought out through the first floor, leading to fears that numerous residents, many of them elderly or disabled, would suffer smoke inhalation. But he said only one person was taken to the hospital complaining of breathing difficulties, and no other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

He said firefighters are frequently called to the building, operated by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, so they were aware of the challenges they could encounter in evacuating residents. When firefighters arrived and saw smoke coming from a first-floor unit, they called a second alarm. King said five ambulances also were sent to the scene.

Residents had to be evacuated via stairways. King said firefighters brought one resident down from a second-floor balcony.

King credited what he described a the department's "front-loaded" response with the quick evacuation of the building and containment of the fire. The fire was extinguished about 10 minutes after firefighters arrived.

The unit in which the fire started suffered extensive damage to the kitchen, living room and bedroom, King said. He said a part of first-floor hallway and doors of some other units also were charred, and ceiling light fixtures were melted.

The SHRA is finding temporary living quarters for residents displaced from first-floor units, King said.

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