JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A large fire broke out about 4 a.m. Saturday at The Preserve At San Jose Condominiums.
By dawn, the fire was out, but the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said at least 30 people were burned out of their homes.
Firefighters requested backup twice within 30 minutes as the flames spread through 12 units at the complex, making it a three-alarm fire.
Multiple fire trucks, JEA and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded, and Old Kings Road was blocked for several hours.
The Red Cross was on scene assisting with the needs of the displaced residents. A spokesperson said the organization is currently helping 18 adults and two children.
Neighbors told News4Jax they were concerned since few people were seen in the courtyards evacuating the units, but JFRD said there were no injuries.
"Watching your home just being destroyed, it’s not really something you can forget. It’s definitely traumatizing," said Brian Stevens, who lives in the complex with his two roommates.
Stevens said it was a sad morning for those who watched the fire destroy their homes.
"That was our biggest concern, making sure everyone was OK and the firefighters were awesome, making sure everyone is taken care of," Stevens said.
Another resident who lost his home in the fire told News4Jax he and his roommate woke to the smell of smoke, grabbed their cat and quickly ran out of the unit.
"We were rushing to get out of there. We had trouble breathing. We know it was pretty bad," Eric Johnston said.
According to Red Cross, a cat, two dogs and a chinchilla were rescued. They are all said to be doing well.
As firefighters continued to work on hot spots left by the blaze, the fire marshal was on scene investigating the cause.
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