The American Red Cross is providing temporary housing and assistance to the mother and six children who were displaced by a fire early Thursday morning from their apartment on Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo.
The family will be living in a motel for at least two days while the fire department and the owners of the subsidized housing complex determine the extent of damages, said Battalion Chief Jeff Gator. The three upstairs bedrooms of the apartment are smoke damaged and one bedroom is uninhabitable.
A tragedy was averted by the fact that one of the children woke up and alerted the mother who was able to evacuate the residence and call for help, Gator said. The family left an unattended candle burning and did not have functioning smoke detectors.
"This could have easily been a tragedy with multiple fatalities," he said. "This was a close one."
A woman and her six children are safe this morning after their San Luis Obispo apartment caught fire overnight.
The fire at the second-floor apartment at 1112 Orcutt Road was first reported at 1:11 a.m., according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department. Police officers who arrived just ahead of firefighters confirmed that all seven residents of the four-bedroom apartment had been evacuated.
The fire was caused by a candle in a glass container in one of the children's bedrooms, according to authorities. The glass container cracked and the flame ignited the bedpost and bedding.
The woman and her children were asleep when the fire broke out, according to authorities, and narrowly escaped the blaze. There were no working smoke detectors inside the home.
Firefighters were able to control the blaze within 15 minutes of the first 911 call, according to the news release. There was no damage to neighboring apartments.
One of the residents was treated for minor smoke inhalation, according to authorities. She was evaluated and treated at the scene. No one else was injured.
It's estimated the fire caused $20,000 in damage and loss of property.