Minor Fire at Golden Oaks Apartment Building

Firefighters used a long ladder to check the roof of the Golden Oaks apartment building on El Centro Street this past Monday following a small fire on the second floor that required a brief evacuation of some residents. Photo by Kevin Kenney

A small fire atop a stove brought a big response this week at the Golden Oaks apartment building on El Centro Street.

Fire units from South Pasadena, Pasadena, San Marino and Alhambra raced to building — a former senior facility that still has a large senior population — around 1:45 p.m. on Monday after reports of a smoke condition in one of the second-floor units.

Eric Zanteson, operations division chief for the South Pasadena F.D., said alarm bells were ringing and building management was already in the process of evacuating the premises when firefighters arrived.

Zanteson said the big response — three engines, two ladders, paramedics and a battalion chief — is the typical protocol when a fire is reported at a building such as the Golden Oaks, which features central hallways that can quickly become smoke-filled.

Building manager Robin Ortega, whose office is on the first floor, said the smoke was evident throughout the building, and that residents were quickly evacuated into the street. In all, about 20 residents were evacuated, Ortega said.

“It’s scary,” she said.

Capt. Kris Saxon of the South Pasadena F.D. said that when firefighters reached the second-floor apartment where the fire broke out, the fire had already been extinguished by a housekeeper.

Saxon said some kitchen items such as a plastic refrigerator tray and an egg carton had been left on the stove and had ignited, though he did not know how.

Zanteson said there were no injuries, and that no residents or firefighters required treatment.

Though Zanteson characterized the fire as “minor,” and said that no other apartment units were involved, firefighters did use a tall ladder to check the roof and other areas of the building before departing sometime after 2:30 p.m.