OAKLAND -- A one-alarm blaze gutted an apartment and damaged five other units at a seven-story building in downtown Oakland on Friday afternoon, fire officials said.

No one was injured in the fire, which broke out about 12:25 p.m. on the first floor of the building in the 1300 block of Webster Street, where construction was taking place, said Battalion Chief Coy Justice.

The blaze quickly spread to a second-floor unit above the construction and then to other units above that, up to the seventh floor.

Justice said a handful of workers renovating the building's first floor made it safely out before fire crews arrived.

So did Chris Kahapea, 26, and his girlfriend Emmy Oto, 18, who live in an apartment on the third floor.

Kahapea said that when the fire alarm sounded, he grabbed Oto and the couple ran quickly down stairs to the first floor, not even stopping to grab a phone.

"I could smell the smoke and feel the heat on my arm as we ran," Kahapea said.

On the ground they joined about two-dozen residents who had been in the building with the blaze broke out. They watched fire crews douse the blaze using two aerial ladders and a few hoses.

The fire was under control by 12:53 p.m., and residents were allowed back inside.

A few minutes later Kahapea and Oto returned to the street, Oto clutching her phone tightly.

"I got my phone and our apartment wasn't damaged," Oto said. "I'm glad everyone is OK."


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A monetary fire damage estimate was not immediately known and the cause of the fire remained under investigation on Friday.

David DeBolt contributed to this report. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.