Families in the North Valley need help after fire forced them out of their apartments

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Several North Valley families are begging for help after a fire at their apartment complex left them homeless. (KFSN)

Several North Valley families are begging for help after a fire at their apartment complex left them homeless. The fire came following a string of fires near Main Street last week.

"I don't have nowhere to go. After tomorrow, I'm outdoors-- they are too," said Norma Thompson, tenant.

Tenants took what they could salvage, but many families are still left wondering where they are going to go.

"Just going around my head-- where are we going to go? I mean, I have my son and two dogs. Where are we going to go," said Alicia Corona, tenant.

Corona has lived in the apartments along K Street for almost a year now. Last Friday, she woke up to flames right outside her door after the apartment underneath hers caught on fire.

Dozens received help from the Red Cross and were able to stay at the nearby Motel 6, but now the money has run out and Corona said she hasn't gotten an answer from the owner of the property.

"We haven't heard anything yet. I don't know if they're working on it or something," said Thompson.

One renter, however, said she finally got a hold of the owner of the complex who said they can't help her.

"I can't help you. You guys should've taken out renters insurance," said Thompson.

Merced Development Services Director David Gonzalves said the owner needs to get a licensed contractor to assess the damage. Then, the department can issue a building permit and inspect the building. He said, however, the landlord has yet to call.

"The landowner, to the best of my knowledge, has not contacted the city. They'll need to do that for us to get into that property. The building has been tagged 'Do not occupy' and the reason is for the safety of the occupants."

So know all the tenant said all they can do is wait for help.

"We're just praying and hoping that they'll do something," said Corona.

We left a message for the owner and called several times-- those calls have not been returned. The city said until the owner calls, they can't get the process going and get the building inspected for the damage and needed repairs.
Related Topics:
newsapartment fireamerican red crossmercedmerced countyMerced
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