SAN JOSE -- A fire that apparently started in an outdoor patio area quickly spread throughout a fourplex near Westfield Oakridge Mall, destroying the units while crews kept it from spreading to neighboring homes, according to fire officials and witnesses.
"I was watching TV and saw some smoke coming from the patio," said neighbor Jonathan Dileo, who called 911. "It was small at first, but then the wind caught it and it grew bigger and bigger."
He said that by the time fire crews arrived at the home on the 700 block of Warring Drive, the blaze had spread up a wall and into the roof of the unit and "there was no way of saving it."
San Jose fire Capt. Cleo Doss did not have a time between when the call was received shortly after 2 p.m. and when units first arrived, but said some units were working another fire on Crestview Drive and had to be diverted. He said it was "pretty well advanced" when they arrived.
Crews went into the units because of an early report that someone may be inside, but came out after finding no one and went into "defensive mode," preventing the flames from spreading to nearby homes on the street of fourplexes.
"Once we knew there were no life-hazards, they came out because the structure started to look unstable," Doss said.
All four units were severely damaged, and the Red Cross was helping any residents in need of temporary housing, he said.
San Jose units were assisted by Santa Clara County crews, Doss said. One firefighter suffered from a minor injury but was treated at the scene and then "went right back to work," he said.
No cause of the fire was immediately known. Doss said it appears that nobody was home in any of the units at the time.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.