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Several people displaced after East Central Fresno apartment fire

Saturday, September 14, 2013
Unattended stove starts fire at SE Fresno apartment complex Several people displaced after Fresno apartment fire

More than half a dozen people were displaced after an apartment fire left a six-unit building without electricity. Firefighters were called to the Villa Margaritas apartments in East Central Fresno just before 2 p.m. Saturday.

The man who started the fire said that he accidentally left his stove unattended. He admits he never should have done that, and while no one was hurt in the blaze he said he would like to apologize to all his neighbors for starting the fire.

It took Fresno firefighters 20 minutes to knock out the fire in this six-unit building. Sixty-year-old Donald William says he feels for his neighbors who did nothing wrong, but have to suffer the consequences of his mistake.

"I'm really really hurt by the whole thing because my neighbors have to leave their apartments," Williams said.

Firefighters say only two unit's experienced heavy damage, including William's apartment on the second floor. But the fire burned into the attic, where the building's electrical wiring runs through.

"Once we got our people up in the attic looking for hidden fire we saw the wiring was damaged and we had PG&E disconnect the power to the entire building," Thomas Cope with the Fresno Fire Department said.

Williams said he was melting grease from a skillet when he stepped outside for two to four minutes, never thinking a fire would ignite.

"Every morning I walk outside to the sidewalk to feel the weather, just that quick and I wasn't even thinking about the skillet," Williams said.

But now that skillet is all Williams can think about, and he is asking his neighbors to forgive him.

"I'm sorry neighbors. I apologize, I hope we can be neighbors at heart," Williams said.

Firefighters say many of the residents of the effected apartments lived alone and they have places to stay. They have not given an estimate for the damage. Fire investigators will finish up a report Sunday but for now, no charges have been filed against Williams.

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fresno, fresno east central, fire, local, anthony pura
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