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Flames erupt at Turlock apartment complex
fire pic
A fire broke out in an apartment that was supposed to be vacant in the 100 block of Starr Avenue on Saturday, causing damage to adjoining units. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

An apartment that was supposed to be vacant caught fire Saturday forcing residents of the seven unit apartment complex to flee from the flames, according to the Turlock Fire Department.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. There were no reported injuries from the incident.

The fire was first reported at 10:12 a.m. Saturday, with callers stating smoke and fire could be seen coming from a vacant apartment in the 100 block of Starr Avenue.

The first fire crews to arrive at the apartment saw smoke and flames coming from one of the units and more than a dozen residents running from the complex, said Turlock Fire Capt. David Bickle.

“The apartment on fire was not occupied according to the property owner, thus the report of a vacant building,” Bickle said in a news release. “Many neighbors reported people staying in the vacant apartment.”

Because there was a possibility that people could be in the burning apartment, five firefighters took a direct attack to the fire, searching for any trapped individuals, Bickle said. No one was found in the apartment, though a dog was found trapped in the neighboring apartment and was rescued and reunited with its owner.

The fire caused extensive damage to the apartment, with the damage estimated at $75,000. Some of the adjoining units sustained smoke and water damage and some were left without power.

The Red Cross helped 18 people displaced by the fire, while some were allowed to return to their homes later in the afternoon.

The fire was brought under control in approximately 30 minutes, with clean-up and complete containment lasting four hours. Four Turlock Fire engines were called to the incident with a total of 16 fire personnel on scene.

The Ceres Fire Department assisted with one engine and one battalion chief under a newly activated resources sharing plan in Stanislaus County.