MANTECA – An apartment complex off Highway 120 in Manteca caught fire Sunday morning.
Manteca Fire Department responded to the structure fire at Van Ryn Avenue and Atherton Drive along with neighboring agencies. It took the collaboration of the Manteca, Stockton, Lathrop, Ripon and Tracy fire departments to help put out the blaze.
“I saw ashes everywhere and then and when I drove by I saw everything up in flames. From both sides of the building just smoke shooting up everywhere,” said Jimmie Davis, who lives near the complex.
The three-alarm fire damaged approximately 25 percent of the complex, according to Manteca Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd. The apartments are three story complexes and the fire started on the third floor of one of the buildings. Four structures were totaled and the rest were left undamaged.
“When you have buildings like this that are under construction, they generate an immense amount of heat," Shipherd said. "So keeping it from spreading to other buildings was our biggest priority. We had several of the buildings start to burn a little bit but we were able to put those out and keep it from spreading past that."
Ashes filled the parking lot of the nearby Juniper Apartments, where many residents were glad the flames did not make it that far.
“Very, very fortunate. As big as the flames were and the fire was it could have easily come this way and started consuming some of the buildings,” Davis said.
The buildings that burned were the closest in the complex to being completed.
“For weeks we’ve been seeing all this building going on and then, all of a sudden, they are gone. Just up in flames. It’s amazing,” said Dawn Maria, who also lives near the complex.