Fire on the 10th floor of senior citizens’ high-rise
RIVERSIDE – In the early morning hours of December 08, 2016 the City of Riverside Fire Department responded to a box alarm at a high rise apartment building in the downtown area. The first arriving engine company reported heavy smoke and flames visible from an apartment unit on the 10th floor of the 16 story building with several people trapped on balconies on the 10th floor and above.
The fire was reported shortly before 12:30am at the Mount Rubidoux Manor senior living apartments in the 3900 block of 10th Street. The fire was quickly upgraded to a 5-alarm multi dwelling structure fire. As more fire crews were being requested, Officers with the Riverside Police Department arrived at the scene. With no regard for their own safety, they made their way up several flights of stairs and began assisting Firefighters with evacuating the building. Fire Officials say, many of the trapped tenants were out of reach of their aerial apparatus as they were well over 100 feet up. At least 200 residents were forced from their apartments and onto the streets as temperatures dropped to the low 50’s.
Per Battalion Chief Bruce Vanderhorst with the City of Riverside Fire Department, seventy-three firefighters responded to the structure fire with mutual aid from Cal Fire/ Riverside County Fire, City of Corona Fire and numerous ambulances from American Medical Response. Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the fire and were able to keep the blaze contained to the apartment of origin.
According to Fire Officials at the scene, two residents were located in two different apartments suffering from minor injuries and were transported by ground ambulance to an area hospital. A near by senior center was opened to allow the evacuated residents to seek shelter and escape the cold temperatures. Firefighters had the fire contained within 40 minutes. The cause of the fire was determined to be human caused. A female tenant dropped a lit cigarette onto an oxygen tank tube sparking the blaze. No Firefighters or Officers were injured in the fire.