OAKLAND -- One resident was rescued by firefighters and two apartments were gutted in a two-alarm blaze Tuesday afternoon in Oakland's Adams Point neighborhood.
The fire erupted about 1:05 p.m. in a second-floor apartment at a four-story building at 401 Vernon St. About 40 firefighters had the fire under control by 1:20 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Coy Justice.
One man was rescued from his third-floor apartment above where the fire started and another person was treated for an anxiety attack, officials said.
The man rescued, Julian W. Carroll, a 25-year resident of the building, said he was on the phone with his daughter when he saw thick black smoke "curling up outside. I couldn't see the flames but because of the smoke I knew they were hot."
Carroll said he was a retired city planner who used to work near the Oakland Fire Marshal's Office, where he learned safety tips. He said he had a rope in his apartment and briefly thought about using it to shimmy down to the street.
But the smoke was too thick for him to maneuver down a hallway so he crawled back into his apartment "and yelled 'help, help, help.' ... I couldn't get out, I was trapped."
Firefighters found him before he was injured and brought him to safety.
"Man, I feel blessed," he said later, standing outside the building in a T-shirt and shorts.
Some residents of the building stayed in their apartments while firefighters battled the blaze and others evacuated on their own.
Three residents, including Carroll, were being provided temporary shelter by the Red Cross.
What sparked the blaze was not immediately determined. The fire caused at least $100,000 in damage, Justice said.