20 Displaced, 7 Vehicles Destroyed After Explosive Carport Fire in Hemet Apartment Complex

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Twenty people were temporarily displaced and several were injured after an explosive carport fire in Hemet early Friday, officials said.

Residents who were trying to get away from the flames had to jump a tall fence, resulting in injuries including a broken ankle, witnesses told KTLA.

The blaze was reported shortly before 1 a.m. and responding firefighters were met with a fully-involved carport fire radiating intense heat, Hemet Fire Department Battalion Chief James Majchrzak said. He described the flames as a "wall of heat."

Firefighters were able to stop the flames from spreading to apartments and traced the origin of the blaze to the carport.

Majchrzak said seven vehicles in the carport were destroyed and and 11 were damaged by the radiant heat 50 to 70 feet away from the fire.

The chief said the heat was so intense that residents weren't able to escape out of a normal route.

One suffered gashes and bruises from jumping over a fence.

“That was our only hope, was that back fence, that’s why all of us got injured, because it is so high, so spiky," the resident, who only wanted to be identified as Savannah, said.

She said she ran out of her apartment barefoot with her young niece and daughter, who were also barefoot, crying and scared.

She said she was grateful to firefighters who stopped the flames before they reached the apartments.

“It was so bad, it was exploding," she said about the blaze.

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