FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A Central Fresno apartment fire left two people injured and 18 more without a home. The flames destroyed two units and damaged several others. Investigators said the fire was sparked by some candles left burning in the living room of one of the units.
Piles of charred clothes and what's left of mattresses and toys are what remains after an overnight blaze tore through the apartment unit spreading to the attic.
"I turned around and yelled at my kid get up, there's a fire. We grabbed animals and were out here," said Melanie Rose, neighbor.
Video sent into us by abc30insider Jacky Her showed flames shooting out of the apartment window as firefighters battle the blaze.
"I didn't smell anything. I didn't realize what was going on, and the smoke was kinda like-- woof. I look out, and the entire corner was engulfed," said Van Stewart, neighbor.
Renters spent the morning salvaging what they could. The fire started in a second-story living room and spread to the unit adjacent damaging seven units total.
"It sounds like it can be accidental fire with the use of a candle. Tenants tried to put out the fire themselves-- wasn't able to," said RJ Perez, Fresno Fire Investigator.
"In an instance, like this, there were no working and functioning smoke alarms," said Hector Vasquez, Fresno Fire Department PIO.
By the time residents in the two units became aware of the fire the front entrance and stairways were blocked.
"People were forced to use desperate means to get their family out. They had to break the window out and lower their kids down the window," said Vasquez.
Fresno fire is using this incident as a means of reminding people to have an escape plan. Saying, if you live on a second story having a ladder is key.
"Educate your family on how to use these. Usually, incidents happen like this when you're asleep and you're forced to think quickly," said Vasquez.
Two people were sent to the hospital with lacerations from breaking the window. Both have been treated and released.
Red Cross officials said they are helping 18 people from six of the units.
Thanks to #abc30insider Jacky Her and Tony Vang for sending us video of the fire.