Fresno Sheriff's Look for Fire Suspect

July 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno County Sheriff's Department is looking for Selma apartment fire suspect.Sheriff's investigators got some leads on Nieto out here last night, but they haven't tracked him down yet. As for the victim's of the fire he's accused of setting, they got hotels from the Red Cross but the charity is struggling to keep helping disaster victims.

Investigators say the fire started when Nieto threw away burning evidence while running away. The flames lit up some mattresses outside the complex and the fire spread into the apartment building. It spread through a common attic and sent people running from 10 apartments.

Most of them gathered at a taco stand across the street where they got help from a Red Cross disaster assistance team, but the Red Cross said it's getting hard to help people because it's in a serious cash crunch.

Fire victim, Paul Garnica said, "I'm glad somebody's here to help us. I don't know who would if they weren't here. I don't know what we're going to do. Like I said, we lost everything."

Ralph Goldbeck with the Red Cross said, "It's a difficult time for all of us. Gas prices are high. We have seen our donations start to tail off like all non-profits have throughout the last year. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop the disasters from occurring. That doesn't stop the fires from happening."

The Red Cross says it's helped almost 90 fire victims in just the last few days, giving them hotel rooms, food and clothing. They're hoping the disasters will encourage people to donate.

One thing they're hoping for is that people who decide not to spend money on fireworks for the fourth will give that money to the Red Cross instead.


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