This article was updated at 4:06 p.m.
It took 52 minutes for San Jose city and Santa Clara County firefighters to extinguish a fire that broke out at an apartment complex at 1017 W. Hamilton Avenue Sunday, according to Dennis Johnsen, the chief investigator with the Santa Clara County Fire Department.
"We had 42 personnel out there responding," Johnsen said. "This went from a full first alarm fire to a second alarm fire because the fire spread into the attic."
The first call of the fire came into the county department at 11:44 a.m., Johnsen said.
The complex is made up of four two-story apartments. The genesis of the blaze, Johnsen said, was Apt. #2. Responding firefighters found flames coming out of both the lower and upper floors of this apartment.
"A resident of Apt. #2 was cooking on an electric stove and left the stove to go upstairs to answer the phone," Johnsen explained. "When he returned, he found that a fire had spread."
That man, who Johnsen did not identify, was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with burns to his chest and feet that he sustained as he fell while trying to take the cooking pan that caught on fire outside.
"I don't believe his injuries are life threatening, but he might have inhaled hot gases and air, so it will be nip and tuck for a while, but so far so good," Johnsen said of the man's condition.
The flames from the stove got into the apartment's vents, Johnsen explained, rising upward towards the attic. Firefighters cut holes in the other apartments' ceilings to make sure the fire hadn't spread into their attics.
One wall of neighboring Apt. #3 is gone, Johnsen said, and the roof of the complex sustained damage due to the flames coming from Apt. #2's attic as well.
"Apt. #2 is heavily damaged from the fire," Johnsen said. "The other apartments have a lot of water damage."
The entire building has been deemed uninhabitable, he explained, leaving the complex's 10-12 residents displaced. The American Red Cross is working on finding housing for six of those residents.
The cost of the damage, Johnsen said, is estimated at $500,000.
The shut down W. Hamilton Avenue until about 3:15 p.m. but the road has been reopened, Johnsen said.
Campbell Patch will provide any updates on the incident as soon as they become available.