“Coals from the burning building were thrown into a field in the southeast,” said Deputy Fire Chief Ted Semanius. “And we had to keep the grass from burning in that field.”
Residents were forced to leave their apartments at any time. Caesar Gomez says he was lucky that someone came to him.
“I was at home and took a nap, and the neighbors ran up and knocked on the door, saying,‘ Wake up! Wake up! There is a fire there, ”he said. “And when I came out the front door, all I felt was a flame.”
One woman tells us that she picked up two young children and a child from the apartment before she caught fire. They did not have the opportunity to take anything with them.
Firefighters said no one was injured, but a total of three buildings were burned or damaged. 18 units were recognized as total loss.
“All I saw was smoke from a fire that was already burning from a building that was already on fire,” said Michelle Barnes, a resident of the apartment.
Fresno firefighters say the building where the fire started on Monday was also on fire back in March. Action News filmed the flames at Altos West Apartments at least twice.
In May 2016, as many as 30 people were relocated. Last October, one family was relocated. Michelle says she hopes her apartment won’t be next.
“It’s scary because the last fire was right behind me,” she said.
Action News spoke to the head of the apartment, who declined to answer our questions about what led to the many fires. Fresno firefighters tell us that a house that burned down back in March was under renovation.
“They were building. They just got plans to get permits and start rebuilding this building,” Semanius said.
Michelle hopes this fire will be the last. However, she makes sure she is protected, and invites her neighbors to do the same.
“No matter what you’re going through, get insurance,” she said.
The cause of the fire is still being determined.
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