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Firefighters keep blazes at bay during busy holiday weekend
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Turlock’s two fire departments were kept busy over the Fourth of July weekend as flames flared up around town.

At least one of the fires has been attributed to the use of fireworks, while a few others remain under investigation. No one suffered any injuries from the various blazes.

The first fire was reported around 2 p.m. Sunday in the 1500 block of N. Denair. The tenant reported smoke coming from the kitchen and when Turlock City firefighters arrived they could see from the front door a burner on the electric stove glowing. The heat was so intense that it had melted off the controls.

The fire department had to turn off the electricity to all the units in the complex.

It was unknown if the burner had been left on or if it was caused by a malfunction. The tenant told the fire department she had been having trouble with her stove for several months and said other tenants have had problems with their stoves and wiring as well.

The woman said she would be staying with her daughter until the repairs are made. The damage was estimated at $3,000 to the property and $1,000 for contents.

An ambulance was called to the scene because the woman was experiencing shortness of breath, but she declined transportation to the hospital.

About 8:30 p.m. that same night fire crews were out again when a fire was reported at an apartment complex at 920 Pedras Road. The report initially stated it was a fully engulfed fire with two children trapped inside, but a search of the residence turned up empty. All the occupants made it out safely said Fire Chief Tim Lohman.

The three bedroom apartment had severe fire damage and was unlivable after the flames were extinguished. The Red Cross cared for the four residents.

The fire was brought under control in 16 minutes.

The point of origin was found to be in one of the bedrooms, but conflicting witness statements has left a cause undetermined. The residents were in the process of moving when the fire broke out.

The estimated damage was $25,000 to the property and $1,000 for contents.

Within a few hours a new blaze had erupted in a dry grassy field near Golf and Glenwood roads. The Turlock Rural Fire Department, along with Denair and Mt. View responded to the two-alarm fire.

The flames scorched about three acres of land, as well as some trees and a fence. It was brought under control just before it spread to two nearby structures, according to the fire department.

The cause of the fire was determined to be from a firework, though it’s unknown if it was the legal or illegal variety.

As the fourth passed into the fifth, a new fire sprang up on Farr Avenue. According to the Turlock Rural Fire Department, the blaze had completely engulfed a home by the time crews arrived, which was two minutes after it was reported.

Crews had to use a defensive tack on the fire to keep the flames from spreading to the neighboring homes. Crews were on the scene for several hours into the early morning bringing the fire under control.

The fire department has been unable to determine if the house was vacant or not. Neighbors said they saw multiple people coming in and out of the house at various times, but no occupant has come forward.

The final fire was reported at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and was located at a structure that has caught on fire at least twice before, according to the Turlock City Fire Department.

The fire at the vacant and boarded up scorched home at 2218 W. Main St., has been deemed suspicious and is under investigation. Lohman said the residence has no gas or electricity to it because of previous fires.

The fire was brought under control in 30 minutes and completely extinguished in two hours.

Aside from putting out fires, two task forces involving fire personnel were kept busy dealing with illegal fireworks. Lohman said the task force responded to 36 calls of illegal fireworks. The exact tally of the confiscated fireworks has yet to be determined.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.