BERKELEY -- Twenty year-old Seaquins Young barely had time to snatch up a few items and get out of her apartment with her 2-year-old daughter and her mother before fire destroyed the Sacramento Street building where she lived until Monday afternoon.
Police and fire officials say no injuries were reported in the 2:27 p.m. blaze that also damaged a building behind the two-unit apartment in the 3100 block of Sacramento Street. Seven residents were displaced, fire officials said.
"I just got back from school in San Francisco and my mom said, 'Is that a fire on our neighbor's porch?'" Young said. "So we started pulling electrical cords out of the wall and snatching stuff up, but it looks like we lost almost everything."
Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said improperly discarded smoking materials caused the fire. He could not say what exactly the occupants were smoking or in which of the two apartments the fire started. Damages to the building were estimated at $700,000, he said.
Young's neighbors next door apparently were not home at the time, Young said. That apartment was swallowed by flames shortly after Young dialed 911.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.