FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Some residents at an apartment complex in central Fresno are now without a home after a fire moved quickly through the complex Tuesday night, forcing dozens to evacuate.
The fire happened near Maple and Shields avenues, where a total of 24 units were evacuated.
Fire officials say the fire began shortly after 7:00 p.m. and crews have not yet determined the cause.
Heavy smoke and flames prompted extra manpower to knock out the flames of the complex.
“They could tell from the amount of heavy smoke and fire that was visible that we were going to need extra resources,” says Fresno Fire spokesman Jonathan Lopez.
Firefighters say the flames started at one unit in the middle building of the apartment complex. That one unit was connected to 24 other units through the attic and Lopez says thanks to early detection from smoke alarms, they were able to respond quickly and keep the damage to just a couple of units.
“If we didn’t have working smoke detectors it would have taken us longer to get there,” says Lopez.
Resident Pam Lee says she lived at the apartment complex for 20 years. Now, she’s loading her car with some of her important belongings after being displaced by the fire.
Lee says she’s lucky her apartment didn’t burn down, although it did suffer some water damage. Now she says she plans on moving to another unit in the same complex.
“All the ones around me were recently remodeled and they’re all destroyed,” says Lee.
A Red Cross spokesperson says volunteers will be following up with the residents displaced by the fire to connect them to available resources following the incident.