Fire department mum on cause of explosive carport fire
■ By Robin Underwood / Contributed
Residents of the Carson Street Apartments used a human chain to save children in the building after they were trapped by a wall of flame in an explosive carport fire on June 15.
Residents reported a nightmarish experience in which adults were climbing over a chain link fence in the rear of the building to escape the inferno out front that was threatening to engulf the entire apartment building.
A number of children were also trying to flee the fire, but they weren’t tall enough or strong enough to climb over the chain link fence, residents reported this week. The children apparently had become separated from their parents, and were trapped up against the chain link fence trying to get away from the growing fire. Neighbors started a human brigade to lift the children up over the spiked fence gate to safety, residents reported.
One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said she had to wait on the opposite side of the spiked gate to help children over, youngsters who couldn’t otherwise help themselves. “We didn’t even know whose kids they were, we just knew we had to get them over as fast as possible,” she said.
The height and intensity of the blaze forced residents to run to the back of the complex in an attempt to escape, since almost the entire front access was on fire. Some residents were injured climbing over the fence in a mad dash to get away.
Hemet authorities continue to investigate the fire that occured in the 600 block of South Carson Street. The smell of burnt wood and rubber still linger in the air, and a caution tape surrounds the area with warning signs displayed to keep the public away.
It was in the early morning hours of Friday, June 15, that residents of the Carson Street Apartments fled for their lives after the explosive carport fire broke out.
The Hemet Fire Department continues to remain silent on the matter, only able to offer that the incident remains under investigation. It is still unclear whether or not the fire is being considered arson.
The affected carport area of the apartment complex was so badly damaged that the structure is now unrecognizable. Ashes and debri from the flames are piled up to three feet high in some places. Fortunately, the nearby apartment building only incurred dark stains on the building’s exterior from heavy smoke.