A scene of chaos as condo fire has people jumping from windows

Nine people are injured in 'chaotic' fire in San Juan Capistrano

Nine people were injured -- two of them gravely – Tuesday morning after a fire in a condominium building in San Juan Capistrano that forced residents to jump out of windows.

A woman in her 20s and a boy were in grave condition after they were rescued from the fiery building, said Capt. Steve Concialdi, spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority. In all, six adults and three children were injured -- five of the injuries were moderate.

The fire started about 9:15 a.m. on the second floor of the building in the 26500 block of La Zanja Street in San Juan Capistrano.

As firefighters and sheriff's deputies arrived at the fire, they found residents sprawled on the ground -- some of them having leaped from windows to flee the flames and smoke, Battalion Chief Mike Petro said.

Residents who were safely outside did their best to help neighbors as they tried to escape. It was a scene of chaos. At one point, fire officials reported people were trapped inside the building.

“It’s just one of those things," he said. "When you hear it was called a chaotic situation, you can try imagining it in your mind’s eye. Show up on scene, people are outside injured and fire is wrapping out of the building.”

Concialdi said fire officials didn't know what caused the fire and planned to investigate.

Fire officials said the building was equipped with smoke alarms, but the batteries may not have been working.

Volunteers with the Red Cross responded to the neighborhood to provide assistance for displaced residents, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

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