Residents helped each other escape fire

first_imgPASADENA — Tales of neighbor helping neighbor abounded Monday as residents of a Hudson Avenue apartment waited for city building inspectors to allow them back into their units, although city offices, including Building Inspections & Permits, were closed for Columbus Day. Tenants told of rolling on the floor to avoid acrid smoke, a woman and her boyfriend said they rescued her three sisters, and another woman frantically tried to get someone to rescue an elderly neighbor who refused to leave the burning building. The facade of the three-story, 47-unit apartment at 1267 N. Hudson Ave. was unblemished, but inside the smell of smoke was heavy, especially on the badly damaged second floor. Gene and Paula Andro own the apartments, which he said are home to more than 100 people. No one was seriously injured in the fire, which started shortly after 6:30 a.m. Sunday when a woman living on the second floor knocked over a lamp, upsetting an aroma candle. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It was chaos,” said Lucinda Bossieux, 44, a third-floor resident. She and her husband, John, said they ran down hallways banging on doors to alert neighbors. “Thank God we all got out. Not one person was left behind,” she said. Javier Pacheco, 22, and his girlfriend Cynthia Ramos, 19, were baby-sitting her three sisters, ages 14, 9 and 4, in their second-floor apartment when the fire started. Ramos grabbed one girl and ran out of the apartment, and Pacheco, in his underwear, followed her. He said he realized two girls were still in the apartment and returned, picked up one and grabbed the other by the arm and, crouched over to avoid the smoke, left the building. Tammy Nevills, another second-floor resident, ran out of her apartment and tried to get an elderly neighbor to follow her. “She refused to leave,” Nevills said. “She was in shock. She wouldn’t talk. I grabbed her arm but she pulled away. The smoke was so heavy I couldn’t breathe. I crawled down the hall to get out. When I got outside I was screaming and yelling, A woman is still up there!’ I think firefighters went and got her.” Gina Watkins and her 16-year-old daughter said they helped a blind neighbor leave her apartment and yelled “fire” to warn others as they fled the building. Jasmine Rodriguez, the apartment manager, said she awoke to the sound of people pounding on her door. “People were screaming,” she said. “I heard glass popping and then I saw the flames. People were hysterical, there was pandemonium. People were rolling on the floor to avoid the smoke. We guided people out. I stayed here all night with a flashlight, guarding the units.” Many tenants, she said, are on welfare and are staying with relatives or friends, in their cars or at a Red Cross shelter at Villa Parke Community Center, which closes today. Andro said cleanup and work crews were working to restore electricity, water and gas. Several contractors waited to make estimates on the repair work. Fire Department officials estimated damage to the building at $1.5 million and $500,000 to its contents. Emanuel Parker can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4475, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more