Update: The blaze started in a bedroom with too many electrical cords plugged into one outlet, according to the fire department.
A residential fire on the north side of Milpitas near Dixon Road left a house charred on Tuesday night. Nearly all of the five or six renters were at home when they noticed smoke and flames.
Jason Toledo said that he first smelled the fire. Then he noticed dark smoke coming out of a vent. He opened the door to the corner room adjacent to his own and saw flames.
"I tried to fight the fire" with a garden hose, he said. "But there wasn't enough [water] pressure."
Toledo grabbed his laptop and two guitars. He went back for his pets, but the smoke was too thick to see.
Milpitas fire crews responded to the call shortly after 8 p.m. They were able to get the fire under control in about half an hour with the assistance of the Fremont Fire Department, according to a press release. The damage is estimated at $300,000.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and fire personnel and contractors were on site this afternoon.
"It was pretty devastating," said Antonio Silva, whose family lives next door. They spent the night at the neighbor's house across the street, because of the smoke, he said.
The American Red Cross provided shelter and clothing to the renters, said Battalion Chief Scott Brown.
Three, including Toledo are staying at a motel in Milpitas.
Toledo, who moved to Milpitas from San Diego in June, said he is still looking for his three cats, Tessa, Yumi and Penelope. But he lost just about everything, he said. His car is still parked on the street, but his car keys melted in the fire.
Among the multiple agencies—including Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Santa Clara County fire associates, the pooled resources included 23 firefighters, four engines, one Mobile Command Unit, three fire trucks, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, four police officers and one fire investigator.