Downtown Modesto apartment fire displaces residents

12/05/2013 7:07 PM

12/06/2013 12:37 PM

A two-alarm fire displaced nine people and damaged apartments above a former bar in downtown Modesto on Thursday.

Modesto Regional Fire Authority crews arrived about 2:45p.m. and saw flames and smoke coming from a second-story apartment, said Battalion Chief Alan Ernst.

He said because the fire was on the second floor, he called for a second alarm, bringing a total of six engines, two trucks and three battalion chiefs.

Modesto police arrived first and evacuated the eight apartments above a space that has housed several businesses, including Banana Joe’s. It currently is not occupied and did not sustain any serious damage

One apartment was destroyed, and two sustained major damage.

Ernst said the power had to be cut to the building to fight the fire and it will take a few days for an electrician to isolate the power cutoff to the apartment where the fire originated. Until then, nine people who live in the apartments will be displaced.

Debbie Calcote, emergency services coordinator for the Red Cross in Modesto, said all of the displaced residents were put up in hotels and given blankets, comfort kits and assistance with food.

Five of the nine residents lived in the homes that were destroyed or seriously damaged. They also received money for clothing, Calcote said.

The fire caused an estimated $30,000 in damage and remains under investigation.

A woman at the scene suffered minor smoke inhalation and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Ernst said.

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