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San Jose Apartment Fire, Water Damage Leaves Residents Stranded

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Days after an electrical fire led to even greater sprinkler water damage at a low-income apartment building, residents remain stranded. Some residents are finally being allowed to retrieve a few belongings from their homes.

Kenneth King, a displaced resident said the sprinkler system wasn't so much sprinkling as it was gushing.

But King, a disabled U.S. veteran can't retrieve his scooter because the elevators still aren't working.

"It's a hardship," King said.

King and about 30 other displaced people are sheltered at this middle school gym.  They may not have all the comforts of home, but thanks to sheriff's deputies they now have some comfort food.

Santa Clara County sheriff's Sgt. James Jensen said, "Supervisor [Cindy] Chavez got involved, she contacted the sheriff, the sheriff contacted our command staff. We were able to raise money to buy food and DVDs for the families out there so there is some sort of comfort for them."

They raised about $500 and made a big Costco run, all in the same morning.

They drove food over to Peter Burnett Middle School where the vets and families are staying.

The Red Cross is sheltering and feeding the victims three meals a day, but the chips and drinks, fruits and snacks make their stay a little more like home.

Paul Egermeier, with the Red Cross, said "It helps us show our clients that there is an abundance of food and that we are able to help them."

Not just food, the sheriff also offered to collect and wash victim's clothes at the Elmwood jail laundry. It adds up to a different kind of community policing.

"Law enforcement in general and the sheriff's office, we want to help our community and this is one way we can give back," Jensen said.

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