Ceres Apartment Fire Displaces Up to 40 Residents

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CERES -- Less than a day after a four-alarm fire destroyed or damaged eight apartment units on 10th Street, residents were busy salvaging what they could from their homes. In many cases, there wasn't much to move to temporary housing provided by the Red Cross. Heavy smoke damage rendered furniture and clothing unusable.

Ceres Fire Chief Brian Nicholes said getting to the fire was a problem because they were located at the end of a long narrow driveway clogged with cars.

He credited bystanders for helping early on.

"We had a lot of bystanders help us move hose lines. They helped us pick it up and move it, and it was fully charged and that was a big help to us," said Nicholes.

Eventually 14 fire engines from four fire agencies responded to the massive fire.

Even tenants whose units weren't damaged by flames or water were out of luck Wednesday. Because the power was turned off, fire officials didn't allow them to stay in their units overnight.

"We're out until further notice," said tenant Eddie Bergeron.

He attended a meeting of fire victims at an emergency relocation center.

"None of the families that lost everything had renters insurance, so it was devastating," said Bergeron.

Nine units had either fire or smoke damage. As many as 22 are uninhabitable, although fire officials are working to have electricity restored to the non-damaged units.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.