JFRD: 2 rescued, 15 displaced in San Jose apartment fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two people were rescued and 15 others were displaced Saturday after a large fire broke out at an apartment complex in the city's San Jose neighborhood, the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said.

Fire crews were called to the Pinebrook Apartments on Powers Avenue at noon.

Firefighters en route to the scene said they could see heavy smoke from the Fuller Warren Bridge.

Fire officials said 16 apartment units were involved in the blaze. Four of the units were heavily damaged and one unit was completely destroyed. 

Fifteen people were displaced from their homes.

It is unknown what caused the fire, but fire officials said it started in one of the units, and the flames got into the attic and began to spread.

"There was a lot of screaming and hollering when I arrived," JFRD district chief Chip Drysdale said. "Needless to say it was a pretty chaotic scene when we first showed up."

As the fire spread, it engulfed the breezeway, which blocked eight units that were accessible to it, leaving people trapped.

Fire crews had to rescue two adults from their balcony. Due to the heavy smoke, firefighters couldn't see them but heard them screaming.

"I could hear them screaming and hollering, but I could not see them because the fire and smoke was so heavy, that even though I had a front row seat 30 (to) 40 feet away," Drysdale said. 

Firefighters immediately put a ladder to the balcony and saved the two people.

A 6-year-old girl told News4Jax that she was terrified until her mother got her to safety and watched on as fire crews rescued the two people from the balcony. 

The fire was contained to one apartment building, but one wing of it is now out of commission, fire officials said.

There were no reported injuries, except one cat had to be rescued and given treatment, JFRD said. All other pets were OK.

The American Red Cross was at the scene to help the 23 adults and 13 children impacted by the fire. 

The fire marshal is investigating what may have caused the fire.

About the Authors:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.