Fire burns apartment building in Dinuba

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A fire at a Tulare County apartment complex forced 16 families out of their homes Tuesday. The fire broke out at the North Park apartments in Dinuba, where residents could only watch as it quickly spread throughout the building. The cause of the fire is unknown and families are still trying to figure out just how much they've lost.

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Cell phone video from an Action News viewer shows smoke billowing out of the apartments and flames shooting out of the roof. It took firefighters more than an hour and a half to get the fire under control. Residents stood by, watching years of memories disappear. "My wife's dress, wedding dress... a lot of stuff. But we couldn't do anything, said resident Max Gonzalez.

"We don't have nothing for tomorrow or for my baby. Clothes for myself. Nothing. Nothing like that," said resident Angelica Santillan.

Firefighters don't know what started the fire but they say it spread quickly through a shared attic space. While firefighters from several agencies fought the flames, crews also had to rotate in and out every 10 or 15 minutes to fight off heat exhaustion.

In all, 16 units suffered either water or fire damage, displacing about 70 people. "This whole building is a "U" shape with a common attic. So luckily we stopped it here at the beginning of the "U" so it didn't go through the rest of it, said Chad Thompson with the Dinuba Fire Department.

Fortunately, everyone made it out of the apartment building. The Red Cross has placed some families in hotels and others have chosen to stay with friends and family. Apartment management is also trying to accommodate the families and plans to move them into other apartment units.

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dinuba, fire, local, amanda perez
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