A Logan Heights family is grateful to be alive after a fast-moving fire destroyed everything in their apartment.
A single mother and her four children made it out safely thanks to the 5-year-old daughter, who first saw the flames and quickly alerted her mom.
“If I didn’t hear my daughter, maybe we wouldn’t have escaped,” Grace Carpio said. “Or if she didn’t wake up, if she was asleep, none of us would be here.”
The blaze started in the bedroom closet at around 9 a.m. on Oct. 28 at 628 Bancroft St., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Carpio says she woke up that morning to her daughter crying and immediately heard the sounds of fire.
“I just remember her telling me, ‘Look, Mommy,’ and I turned around, and the flames were already up to the ceiling,” she recalled.
The fire was just steps away from Carpio’s bed, where she was sleeping with her girls. In just a matter of minutes, 20 years of Carpio’s life were burned to ashes.
The family didn’t have time to grab anything before escaping. The fire swept away all their belongings, from clothes and toys to computers and televisions.
“It was heartbreaking to see all the stuff that’s no longer good,” Carpio said. “I was stressed to know that I need to start from zero again.”
Carpio is staying with her sister at this time and received help from the Red Cross.
Although she is grateful, she said it’s not enough. Carpio dropped her renters insurance earlier this year, which would have covered her belongings.
“I decided to stop paying it because that’s money that I can use for something else for meals or gas,” Carpio said.
Jazmin Ortega, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Insurance, said having renters insurance helps people protect their belongings in the event of a fire or other emergency.
“It’s one of those things you don’t consider until you need it, and it’s too late,” Ortega said. “It’s important to consider, ‘What would happen if I were to lose all my belongings?”
Now, Carpio only has her memories in ashes. But she is hopeful that on the other side of this darkness, there is a light.
“I was very grateful to be alive and have all of my kids with me, and we’re safe. Everything else — it comes little by little,” she said.
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.