Blaze strips tenants of their apartments

Walls charred by a Friday morning fire in a Pacifica apartment building were a bitter reminder to six residents that they no longer had a home.

The two-alarm blaze, which started at 9:04 a.m., burned four units in Skyline Vista Apartments at 2400 Skyline Blvd., displacing six residents and several pets, North County Fire Authority inspector Clyde Preston said.

“It’s devastating — everything was there,” resident Toby Diaz said while standing shoeless on the street.

Diaz said she left to drive her children to school and when she came back 20 minutes later, the building was engulfed in flames.

In all, 13 San Mateo County companies responded to the fire and were able to control it in 30 minutes. However, authorities closed a portion of Skyline Boulevard for several hours following the blaze.

“This place is old, so I’m not surprised it happened,” resident Arturo Duarte said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and authorities could not confirm where it originated. However, residents said the fire started at a bottom apartment belonging to Diaz and her husband.

Dalia Corpus, who lives above them and was at work at Belmont’s Public Works Department when she found out, said her bedroom and living room were completely destroyed.

“I’m trying not to let it get to me because a lot of it is replaceable items,” said Corpus, who has lived in the unit since November. “I was just happy that the firemen found my engagement ring, because it was priceless to me.”

While calling her husband to inform him of the damage, she said, “Don’t worry, everything seems to be OK … except that we don’t have a home.”

One resident was treated on-scene for smoke inhalation.

The fire made two apartments unlivable and caused serious smoke damage to neighboring units, adding up to about $500,000 in total damage, authorities said.

Red Cross provided housing to several displaced residents.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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