More than 30 people displaced after apartment fire in East Central Fresno

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Witnesses say it took just minutes for an East Central Fresno apartment building to go up in flames. (KFSN)

Witnesses say it took just minutes for an East Central Fresno apartment building to go up in flames.

"It started off small but it spread really fast. There was no chance for it to stop," said Angel Ruelas, witness.

Ruelas said no one was aware of the smoke when he came running up to the complex.

"Me and buddy Andrew we were the first ones there-- we knocked on everybody's door and got everybody out."

As the fire spread Ruelas said people barely got out of their apartments with enough time.

"They were panicking-- the owner of the house started crying, she had come out, there were two ladies and a baby. Just kids and women and everybody was just frantic but we got everybody out."

Lacandis Judge was sleeping with her five month old when she heard the news.

"My cousin actually answered the door and she didn't know who it was and went to the door and he was just screaming fire and she seen the smoke and came and woke everybody up."

Judge, like the 30 other people affected, didn't have time to grab her belongings.

"We could feel the heat of the fire coming out of the door and smoke was all in our face."

Some of them lost everything, while others may be able to salvage some items.

Firefighters do not know what caused the fire, but they do know this damage may have been avoidable.

"What's really sad about that is that our new building codes require sprinklers be in these types of buildings, and so had this occupancy been sprinklered we probably would have held this fire to the room," said Dep. Chief Rich Cabral, Fresno Fire Department.

Judge and her son can't go home but she said, "I'm so grateful for that person-- I can't wait to find him and say thank you because we were all asleep."

There is no doubt on this day Angel Ruelas lived up to his name.

"Right place at the right time."

Two adults, including a firefighter, were treated for injuries and firefighters said they checked a baby out for smoke inhalation.

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apartment firefirefresnofresno - east central
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