Four left homeless after fire at Pine Creek condos in SLO

Fire damaged a unit at the Pine Creek Condominiums on Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo early Monday.
Fire damaged a unit at the Pine Creek Condominiums on Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo early Monday. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

An early Monday morning fire at Pine Creek Condominiums in San Luis Obispo left one person in the hospital and three others without a home.

The San Luis Obispo Fire Department was called to the complex at 1185 Foothill Boulevard just before 4 a.m. Several residents were waiting outside and told firefighters that they were unable to get one person out.

Firefighters pulled the unidentified man from the burning home. He was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and later released.

The fire was sparked by an overloaded power strip connected to an entertainment center on the second floor, said San Luis Obispo Fire Marshal Roger Maggio.

The blaze spread to a nearby couch only moments after firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate the resident laying on it. They then pulled him from the fiery room.

Fire sprinklers contained the fire to the room where it started, Maggio said.

“The smoke detectors activated, which alerted the other residents,” Maggio said. “The combination of working smoke detectors, fire sprinklers and a quick response time prevented what could have been a tragedy.”

The fire was stopped before it could spread to adjacent condos.

Last February, most of the two-bedroom Pine Creek condominiums were tagged by the city's building officials for illegally allowing residents to live in loft spaces and dens not permitted as bedrooms.

The city condemned the loft areas for use after code enforcement officers found that students were living in lofts that were only intended as storage space.

Maggio said that the fire started in a living room below a loft which appeared to be used as a sleeping area.

However, the resident was found unconscious in the living room.

“Had he been asleep in the loft this might have been a lot worse,” Maggio said.

The condo has been red-tagged as uninhabitable because of the damage caused by the fire, estimated to be about $25,000.

The American Red Cross is providing temporary housing for the four displaced residents.