Three Long Beach State sorority members were rescued from a second-story balcony Monday morning by the Long Beach Fire Department after a fire broke out in their sorority house on Eighth Street.
Dispatchers at the LBFD received the emergency call at 5:35 a.m. and called the University Police Department for backup.
“[The] first on scene unit described fire visible from the street and there were multiple people on the balcony,” said Jack Crabtree, a LBFD public information officer.
Five females were inside the house, which belongs to the Alpha Omicron Phi sorority, when fire alarms woke them up. Two managed to escape, while three were left inside during the blaze.
“There were three occupants on the top floor, it was near the balcony, so there were unharmed, they were just trapped, there was no smoke or fire in the house and we got a couple of ladders and we got them out safely,” LBFD Investigator Tye Johnson said.
The three women were rescued from the balcony with fire truck ladders and the fire was located and extinguished 10 minutes after LBFD arrived on scene. A secondary search was also conducted, but no other victims were discovered.
Almost 50 neighbors and residents came out of their homes and crowded the front of the house when the LBFD arrived.
“We woke up because my mother-in-law said something in Spanish, I do not know Spanish but she said it was emergent and I could understand fire so me and my girlfriend got up and were like ‘oh crap’ it looked like there were flames right there on the top, but they said it started from the outside and then went inside, the neighbors over here were freaked out,” said Louis Ortega, a man who lives on the same street.
The sorority members were uninjured but there was a reported injury to a firefighter, who was transported to a local hospital, Crabtree said.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the LBFD Arson Unit.
According to Trace Camacho, director of Student Life and Development, displaced members of the sorority will receive temporary housing assistance.
“In addition…we are connecting the affected students to our Basic Needs Program in case they need additional emergency assistance such as meal assistance, and/or financial assistance due to personal items lost,” Camacho said in an email.
HANNAH GETAHUN Contributed to this report.