Assistant Fire Chief Niko King of the Sacramento Fire Department said several 911 calls were received about 3:38 p.m. reporting fire at an apartment complex at 5935 Bamford Drive in the Valley Hi area. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the units, and a second alarm was declared.
King said a mother and three children were in one of the two-story units, and a mother and two children were in the other when youngsters began screaming, alerting them to the fire.
Both families were able to evacuate the apartments without injury.
King said fire Capt. Jeff Pandis was inside one of he units pulling down pieces of the ceiling when embers fell down the back of his jacket. He was taken to UC Davis Medical Center with second- and third-degree burns to his upper back and is expected to be released Tuesday, King said. Pandis, 37, has been with the department since 2002.
Fire crews from the Sacramento Metropolitan and Cosumnes fire districts assisted city firefighters in battling the blaze. The two apartment units were destroyed by the fire, King said, and the Red Cross was arranging shelter for the two families.
He said fire investigators have determined that the fire started in a storage area in a carport adjacent to the apartments. The cause remains under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call the department's Arson Tip Line at (916) 808-8732.
Photo courtesy Sacramento Fire Department