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Lighter source of apartment fire
fire pic
An apartment unit in the 1200 block of Lambert Way sustained significant damage from fire and smoke after the drapes were accidentally set on fire with a lighter. - photo by Photo contributed by the Turlock Fire Department

A blaze ignited by a lighter destroyed one apartment but a quick response and attack from Turlock firefighters kept the fire from devouring the complex.

The fire in a duplex apartment complex in the 1200 block of Lambert Way was reported at 5:19 a.m. Monday. The first firefighters arrived within five minutes of the report and found the front door fully engulfed and flames snaking around the roofline.

Firefighters were informed by Turlock Police officers at the scene that one resident had escaped from the apartment unharmed, but another occupant was unaccounted for at the time and possibly could be in the burning unit.

Firefighters made a quick attack on the front door and searched the apartment, but no other occupant was found.

The cause of the fire was deemed unintentional. The occupant said she had been using a lighter as a light source to search for some of her personal items when it accidentally set the drapes on fire. She was able to run out the front door before the fire blocked her escape.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in about 10 minutes. While fighting the blaze, the 10 to 12 residents from the other three units were evacuated, but were allowed back into their homes once the fire was extinguished and the structure found safe.

The unit where the fire originated had extensive damage from the flames and smoke. The damage to the property was estimated at $100,000 and the estimated loss of contents was $10,000, according to the fire department. The unit was declared uninhabitable and the resident was displaced.

Four engines, one battalion chief and two chief officers responded to the scene for a total of 15 fire personnel on hand.