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Firefighters extinguish blaze at Cabrillo Arms Apartments; more than 20 displaced

Modified: Thursday, Jan 31st, 2013


Watsonville firefighters initiate their attack on a fire that broke out in a second floor apartment at the Cabrillo Arms Apartments on Ford Street Thursday. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)


WATSONVILLE — More than 20 people are temporarily without shelter after fire destroyed an apartment Thursday afternoon and severely damaged others.

The fire at the Cabrillo Arms Apartments at 30 Ford St. started about 2:50 p.m.

The second story, one-bedroom apartment was home to a couple and their two children, 1 and 2.

No injuries were reported, but dozens of residents of the 4-building, 44-unit complex were temporarily evacuated. Most residents expected to be allowed to return home later that day.

As flames rolled out of two upstairs windows, a thick towering cloud of black smoke could be seen throughout the city as firefighters arrived and quickly extinguished the flames.

Firefighters later used chainsaws to cut holes in the roof to allow smoke and trapped gasses to escape.

Watsonville Police played a key role in contacting residents and ushering people to safety throughout the complex. A huge crowd of onlookers gathered in the St. Patrick's Church parking lot next door and along Ford Street.

The female resident of the burned apartment, who did not give her name, said she was in the bathroom when she heard one of her kids knocking on the door. The fire likely started in the electric stove, which she described as very old.

Resident Oscar Velazquez, whose apartment was not affected, was not surprised.

“Everything is old,” he said.

Watsonville Fire Chief Mark Bisbee said inspectors had not yet been inside the apartment, and that it was too early to determine how the fire started.

Velazquez described the complex as a good place to live, where residents greet each other.

The American Red Cross was on the scene interviewing residents to determine who needed shelter.

The Watsonville Fire Department, North Monterey County Fire, Aptos/La Selva Fire, Pajaro Dunes Fire, Pajaro Valley Fire responded to the two-alarm fire. American Medical response paramedics also responded.









For the complete article see the 01-31-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-31-2013 paper.


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