Central Fresno fire destroys homes and businesses

FRESNO, Calif.

The fire erupted just after 1:30 a.m. Friday morning behind Maribel Beauty Salon at Blackstone and McKenzie.

A large fire ripped through a Central Fresno tri-plex Friday morning. Fire crews on scene tried to control the flames from high above, but the flames grew even higher. They soon found out they could no longer fight it aggressively.

"There was heavy fire going through the roof. Therefore that's why we were in a defensive mode," said Keola Park with the Fresno Fire Department.

Alex Alvarado says he came home that morning and noticed the flames from the inside. "I said 'hi,' and I had to go to the restroom, so I went to the restroom. When I opened the door to the restroom, the window was open. I just looked back to the closet and everything just caught on fire real fast. I can't tell you what it was. I don't know what it was," said Alex Alvarado who escaped the flames.

The fast moving flames forced him to think quickly on his feet -- literally carrying his physically disabled friend Lisa outside.

Roommates spent the morning collecting whatever was salvageable. The owner of the beauty salon next door did the same thing. After sifting through the rubble, all that was left included her cosmetology license and some paperwork.

While this owner no longer has her business, people like Alvarado no longer have a home. "We need more help now. We lost everything. Everything that we had. I mean, so now if anyone could help us that would be good."

The group is getting temporary assistance.

Anyone else wishing to help can contact the Red Cross.

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