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Watsonville apartment blaze displaces 20; fire rekindles Friday morning

Posted: Friday, Feb 1st, 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 — Less than 24 hours after a fire destroyed an apartment and displaced about 20 people, the fire rekindled, bringing firefighters back out to again douse the building with water.

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

The fire is thought to have started in the kitchen area, near the stove, said Watsonville Fire Division Chief Rob Ryan.

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 four-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.

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 and Pajaro Valley Fire responded to the two-alarm fire. American Medical Response paramedics also responded.

For the complete article see the 02-02-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-02-2013 paper.

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