Dormitory fire at Alliant University displaces 32 students - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Dormitory fire at Alliant University displaces 32 students

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Thirty-two students were displaced from their Alliant University dormitory after a two-alarm fire tore through the building Saturday night. 

The fire was first reported at 6 p.m. in dormitory building 14 on the university campus at 10455 Pomerato Road. 

"We heard like an explosion and I said to my roommate hey we have to get out of
here because there's fire," said Christian Nielsen, a Danish international student.

Firefighters struggled to reach the fire because the building was located at the rear of the campus on a narrow road which made it difficult for their vehicles to reach the scene. 

When firefighters arrived, they found the building to be fully engulfed in flames. 

Firefighters attempted to attack the fire from the roof of the building, but then it became too dangerous when flames burst through the roof. 
Firefighters were called back to attack the fire from outside the structure. Eventually, the second floor of one of the units collapsed.  

"That was a trigger point for us. As firefighters, we're going to go defensive. Our initial offensive tactics weren't really doing much," said San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief David Pilkerton. 

Fire officials say it took nearly two hours to put out the fire which completely destroyed at least two apartments. 

All of the students living at the dormitory safely made it out of the building. Many of the students are international students and were studying English at the university. 

Daniel Mueller, a student from Germany, says he is only a few days away from completing his five months of study and that he lost everything in the fire. 

"I only have my phone. No passport. Next week, I'm going to Hawaii and then home, so I don't have my passport or anything," said Mueller. 

One firefighter suffered from heat exhaustion and was transported to a local hospital as a precaution. Red Cross was dispatched to assist the displaced students with comfort kits and the university says they will be providing the students with new housing. 

Fire officials say the fire causes an estimated $350,000 in property damage. 

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