A massive fire erupted at a Pasadena apartment building early Wednesday, prompting a third-alarm response from firefighters before it was extinguished, officials said.
The fire was first reported just before 9 a.m. in the 200 block of East Bellevue Drive, officials said.
Arriving firefighters quickly called for reinforcements, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. Within minutes, firefighters declared the blaze a three-alarm incident.
The fire began on a first floor unit,she said. “It quickly went to the second floor and into the attic, where it became a very intense fire.” Flames ultimately began piercing through the roof of the building, which contained 20 apartment units.
About 50 firefighters declared the flames knocked down after about an hour.
Several residents and firefighters were being assessed for apparently minor injuries, Derderian said.
A woman who managed to get out of the apartment where the fire originated was treated for a minor burn, officials said.
The cause remained under investigation, but Derderian said officials were investigating a statement that the fire appeared to have been sparked from a battery in an electric bicycle. Officials previously described the item involved as an exercise bike.
Several pets were also rescued from the burning apartment building, officials said.
Police officers pulled four cats from one burning unit, according to Derderian. Firefighters pulled another from a different unit.
One of the animals, named Spot, is usually white, but it appeared dark gray as it was seen receiving oxygen from firefighters through a specialized mask designed for animal rescues.
The animal was expected to be OK, Derderian said. “This 13-year old cat may have eight more lives.”
But as firefighters continued working at the scene after extinguishing the flames, they discovered two dogs that had perished in the fire, she said.
Police shut down traffic on Bellevue Drive and Waldo Avenue, as well as on Marengo Avenue between Del Mar and California boulevards as firefighters continued their work. The public was asked to avoid the area through at least noon.
Four apartment units suffered fire or smoke damage, Derderian said. But the residents of all 20 units were expected to be temporarily displaced, as utilities were shut down for the entire building.
The Red Cross was summoned to assist the displaced residents.