Firefighters rescued two women with seconds to spare from a two-alarm blaze at an apartment complex near Modesto Junior College early Saturday morning.
“They were locked in a bathroom with the door shut, which gave them a little window of time. But as they were being pulled out, the door to the bathroom was failing,” said Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Hugo Patino.
The fire broke out just before 5:36 a.m. at the complex on Campus Way, spreading quickly across the second story, Patino said. Firefighters arrived to see flames and smoke pouring from the upper part of the building.
A ladder truck sent to the rear of the structure allowed firefighters to pull the two women through a back window, Patino said.
Residents in the other 14 apartments escaped before fire engines arrived. Patino said the American Red Cross was called to find shelter for about 20 displaced residents. Fortunately, the building had smoke detectors, Patino said.
“I’d certainly encourage everyone to have a smoke detector and check the batteries twice a year. When you change the time, springing forward and falling back, is an excellent time to check the batteries,” he said.
Initial estimates put the damage at $500,000 for the structure. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.