A fire in Oxnard leaves a man dead and a woman burned
A fire Wednesday morning at a south Oxnard condominium left one man dead and one woman severely burned, authorities said.
The fire was reported shortly after 5 a.m. in the 5100 block of Longfellow Way, Oxnard Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Herring said. The site is along the south side of East Pleasant Valley Road, generally west of Rose Avenue, in the Cypress neighborhood.
Arriving firefighters saw visible smoke and flames in a second-floor unit and went into defensive mode, Herring said.
A man was confirmed dead at the scene and a woman was taken by ambulance to St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard with “significant burns”, he said. No other details of the victims were immediately available.
A Good Samaritan who lived in the complex, but not in the unit that caught fire, tried to help with the rescues. He refused medical attention at the scene, Herring said.
The incident left several units uninhabitable and displaced around 17 people, he said, with Red Cross staff offering to help.
The blaze, which escalated to a second alarm, also brought in Ventura County and federal firefighters, Herring said, as well as Gold Coast ambulance personnel.
The cause remains under investigation.
Officers from the Oxnard Police Department also responded, said Cmdr. Luis McArthur, with a police investigator teaming up with a fire department investigator to investigate the cause.
By late Wednesday morning, firefighters had cleared the scene while staff from a private cleaning company were waiting for permits to begin work. A central landing that connected multiple units was unstable, workers said. A yellow ribbon blocked access to the four units concerned.
Rene Alejandro, 38, said he lived in the downstairs unit under the burned condo. He was getting up to go to work when he heard the cat screaming upstairs, he said. When he looked outside, he saw flames coming from the unit above.
Alejandro said he ran upstairs and knocked on doors to wake up residents, then came back downstairs to help his parents out of his apartment. In the late morning, he waited on the grass outside, unable to enter his apartment after officials found the structure unsafe.
He described the deceased man as an elderly resident with reduced mobility. Another resident had helped rescue the woman from the burning apartment, he said. The cat had apparently survived and was hiding on a balcony.
Another resident, Patricia Granados, 47, said she lived in an upstairs unit of the quadruplex. Granados said she was sleeping soundly when the fire broke out and was woken by neighbors who called and knocked on the door. She saw flames coming out of the kitchen windows of the affected unit.
Shortly before noon, she sat down on a chair outside in the shade of a tree. A bundle of blankets bearing the Red Cross logo lay on the ground nearby. She had been too upset by the incident to go to work, she said.
This story may be updated as more information becomes available.