SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — Helmet cameras on South Lake Tahoe firefighters were rolling as crews respond to a deadly apartment fire on Pine Boulevard Monday.
“I knew it was serious. The smoke was getting intense so quick that I knew I had to get out pretty quick,” resident Don McMillian said.READ MORE: Disguised On DoorDash? Several Chain Restaurants Marketing Food Under Different Names
It was a scene that the property manager Shawn Mand and McMillian said was intense.
“I did kick down the door but, as soon as I did that, a huge wall of smoke came out,” Mand said.
“It was very traumatic and hectic when a great deal of smoke started rising up through my floor,” McMillian said.
The Monday morning blaze killed one person as six others were rescued and another escaped on his own from the first floor.
“It was immediately noticed that we had victims out the windows behind me and that an immediate rescue was needed,” Captain Tyler Jack, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, said.
“I had to crawl out my window backwards. And I’m 73 years old so that was quite an ordeal,” McMillian said.
Crews performed CPR on the man who died from his injures after he was found inside the first-floor apartment where the fire started.
The surviving tenants have been placed in temporary housing for now — a much tougher task during a pandemic.READ MORE: Turkey Shatters Window, Breaks Into Fair Oaks Dentist's Office During Patient Appointments
“We’ve had challenges finding housing not just for people that are displaced from structure fires and other types of incidents,” Chief Clive Savaccol, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, said “But, also, we’ve had say city staff that needs COVID-19 quarantine after exposure. Fortunately, the local hotels have been working with us very well.”
South Lake Tahoe’s fire chief told CBS13 that five of the tenants work for a local hotel, which is putting them up. The other two are staying at the hotel next door that’s run by the same property manager.
The property owner said that he is doing what he can by offering them different rooms at different properties that they manage.
Mand told CBS13 that he does have another room available for the group that works at the local hotel — who he and McMillian referred to as J1s or J1 students — and they are set to move in on Wednesday.
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He also added that he is working with the tenants staying at their hotel to find them units to stay at different properties.
Even after the smoke has cleared, it left its mark on McMillian.
“It’s very hard. I’m still kind of traumatized by it. I haven’t been able to sleep,” McMillian said.MORE NEWS: Stanislaus County Sheriff Says State Bureaucracy Is Slowing Down Vaccine Distribution
South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue said that the investigation on what caused the fire is still ongoing.