Dozens displaced by Coalinga apartment fire

FRESNO, Calif.

The fire started just after 10 Saturday morning on Polk near Pleasant. Fire officials say this one could have easily been prevented.

The hot weather certainly made the fire fight much more difficult. The fire chief tells Action News careless smoking is what burned down two apartments this morning.

Six other units were damaged by smoke and water.

Firefighters had to tear walls down to make sure the fire would not re-ignite after they left.

Coalinga Fire Chief Steve Henry says you could see where the fire started on the balcony of one unit. It appears someone did not properly throw out a cigarette.

Action News has learned fire crews needed about an hour to control the flames but not before the fire spread to the attic of the building and burned through the roof.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries after the fire was put out.

"We had one fire fighter injury, it was debris falling from overhead while we were doing overhaul. He received an injury to his arm, he's being treated and it appears he is going to be released," Chief Steve Henry of the Coalinga Fire Department said.

"We could see flames coming out of the balcony and then the smoke it just got darker and darker. It just - flames about thirty minutes later took the whole building," witness Wendy Soto said.

Cal Fire from Fresno and the Kings County Fire Department also assisted in putting out the apartment fire. The Red Cross is providing the families displaced with a place to stay.

Damage estimates to the building are around $350 thousand.

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