Local rappers help rescue residents from burning building in Oakland 

Two local rappers helped rescue residents from a burning apartment building near Oakland's Highland Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The one-alarm fire started at about 2:20 p.m. in a ground-floor apartment at a three-story building in the 1500 block of 31st Street.

Rapper Sleepy D, 21, said he was watching TV with fellow rapper Big Hongry inside an apartment on the top floor when they smelled smoke.

The pair jumped into action, heading downstairs and kicking in the door to an apartment where there was an elderly man inside, he said.

They also broke into another apartment to get to other residents they believed were trapped, Sleepy D said.

"We had to get everybody out of there," he said. "We just kicked their doors in."

Oakland fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said residents and firefighters worked together to get the building's occupants to safety.

"There were a few residents who were assisting with the evacuation," she said.

When firefighters arrived, they were told there were children and adults with mobility problems who were trapped.

"It was a very hectic scene when we first got on scene," she said.

However, everyone managed to get out safely, and no injuries were reported.

The fire was confined to one apartment, with smoke damage to three other units, Drayton said. Damage was estimated at $80,000 to $100,000.

Eight adults and two children -- a 10-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy -- were displaced, and the American Red Cross was called to assist them, she said.

She said it appeared the apartment where the blaze originated was empty at the time. When the family came back home, they told firefighters they did not know how the fire started.

Investigators are exploring the possibility that the fire was sparked by an electrical problem, but the cause has not been determined, Drayton said.

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