25 displaced after fire erupts at downtown senior living facilit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

25 displaced after fire erupts at downtown senior living facility

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A two-alarm fire inside a four-story senior living facility in the East Village Friday left about 25 residents displaced, one injured and caused more than $500,000 in damage.

The fire at the 200-unit Potiker Family Senior Residence at 525 14th St. was reported shortly before 8:30 a.m.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke pouring from the window of a fourth-floor unit, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson said. Its resident was rescued and taken to UC San Diego Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Swanson said the building's fourth-floor sprinkler system was triggered, but the position of furniture in the burning apartment prevented the sprinklers from extinguishing the fire. The sprinklers also caused extensive water damage on the second, third and fourth floors.

Firefighters knocked down the blaze in about 25 minutes and it was confined to one apartment, Swanson said. A body was later found inside the building, but San Diego police and fire officials said the death was unrelated to the fire.

Firefighters helped around 20 people evacuate and rescued several others who were wheelchair-bound or otherwise unable to get out on their own, Swanson said.

Up to 150 residents got out of the 12-year-old building safely on their own, and some were allowed to stay inside their homes, according to Paul Downey, CEO for building owner Serving Seniors, a nonprofit organization.

Downey said that after the building is deemed safe and reopened, staffers would assess the damage and determine an exact number of residents who will need temporary housing.

Swanson said the cause of the fire was accidental and that smoking materials ignited combustibles. The building sustained about $500,000 in smoke and water damage, and about $2,000 worth of contents in the unit where the fire started were lost.

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