Fire at women’s shelter leaves 14 homeless

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SAN DIEGO -- A fire that erupted at a Bankers Hill women’s shelter early Thursday and left 14 women homeless is being investigated as arson, according to San Diego Fire Department.

The fire at the Big Sister League transitional house only burned one room but destroyed the only home some of these women have ever known. One woman was hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

The building located at Redwood Street and First Avenue houses women in need of social services or mental health assistance. The Red Cross is providing temporary hotel rooms, but Cassandra says the fire did much more than just damage the building.

“It started in a trashcan and it just burnt up everything,” said Cassandra Robinson, executive director of the nonprofit.

Ashes and charred items are all that remain after the fire tore through the second-story room.

“I couldn’t come in here. The smoke was so black, I started coughing but I could see the red flames,” Robinson said. “So I just started banging on doors, and other women banging on doors, to get everyone out of here and out to safety."

“We are where they call home,” Robinson said. “They come here straight from the hospital sometimes and we’re here so they can stay out of the hospital. This could very well be a setback for them."

The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to the building, not including the loss of property and personal items. The Big Sister League told FOX 5 donations from the public would be appreciated.

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