Pinedale Apt Fire Victims

October 17, 2008 7:45:09 PM PDT
Four families were displaced after an unattended candle set fire to an apartment unit Thursday night. This is the second apartment fire to start by a candle this week.Some victims from Thursday night's fire are waiting for the landlord to relocate them. One father refused a warm bed last night so he could stay here to protect what remained unburned.

Anthony Deltoro spent Thursday night sleeping in his car. His apartment in Pinedale and three others next door were damaged by a fire.

"It was cold and we were freezing but we had to do what we had to do because the little we had left, we had to salvage that. We had no other choice," said Deltoro.

Thursday night Deltoro's wife came unglued at the thought of what had happened. No one was hurt but personal belongings were ruined if not completely lost. "I've been here five years. Everything, everything I had was in there," said Sonia Munoz.

Investigators said power to the apartment was cut off earlier in the day and the residents used candles as a light source. Jeff Smith with PG&E couldn't comment about specific customers but said under 1% of their clientele have had their power shut off.

"In order for it to get to that point folks will have received multiple letters, multiple phone calls and just will not have engaged us in conversation to get to a point as to try and come up with some sort of a solution as to what they can do," said Smith.

On Monday another fire was started by an unattended candle and burned down three apartment units in Northeast Fresno, Fresno Fire's Ken Shockley said when the economy is poor people will try almost anything to save on their energy bill.

"It's common, very common. People like to use candles and when you leave them unattended depending on the surface they're sitting on they can drip down cause fire and spread very quickly," said Shockley.

If you're having problems paying your energy bill PG&E has programs for you. Call 800-PGE-5000 or www.PGE.com. After hearing the bad news several local teachers at nearby schools donated money to help the children who were displaced by this fire.

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