VISTA — Vista firefighters rescued a man and woman from the second floor of a burning residency hotel, and a second man leaped out his window to safety Saturday afternoon.
The couple were leaning out separate windows of their smoke-filled room, screaming for help and coughing, said fire Capt. Justin Golden.
“It was very dramatic,” Golden said. “They were choking.”
A 2-alarm blaze broke out in a upstairs guest room at the two-story Rancho Vista Hotel on South Santa Fe Avenue, near Terrace Street, about 4:15 p.m. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
More than 15 residents fled out doors, fire escapes and windows when smoke detectors started sounding. Golden said the man who jumped out a window landed on concrete, but was not hurt.
Golden’s crew placed ladders to the windows and helped the man and woman climb down. Then, he said, they made their way inside and found the second floor so thick with smoke, they couldn’t see.
“As we turned the corner, there was fire rolling down the ceiling 15 or 20 feet,” Golden said. “We pushed it back and got into the room of origin.”
The blaze was under control by 4:43 p.m., said fire Deputy Chief Ned Vander Pol. He said fire crews from Oceanside, Carlsbad and San Marcos assisted.
The Red Cross was called to help displaced residents. Vander Pol said the second floor of the hotel was heavily damaged by smoke and heat. Total damage was estimated at $100,000.