GUSTINE - A Sunday afternoon fire damaged a building in an apartment complex in the 300 block of Meredith Avenue, officials reported.
A ground floor apartment unit sustained the heaviest damage, officials said. Flames caused extensive damage in a bedroom where the fire originated, and the remainder of that unit had smoke damage. The fire also damaged an exterior wall as it extended into the attic area of the two-story structure, according to Merced County/Cal Fire Captain Adam Kernaghan.
Kernaghan said firefighters arrived to find light smoke showing from the exterior of the ground-floor unit.
Smoke pouring from the unit increased as firefighters prepared to make entry, Kernaghan said. Upon entering the unit firefighters encountered dense smoke and near-zero visibility.
The flames were primarily burning in a bedroom and were quickly knocked down, Kernaghan stated. With additional crews arriving, firefighters checked for extension of the fire that had made its way into the attic space of the building. Fire damage in the attic was limited to the space directly over the second-floor apartment above the unit in which the flames originated.
Kernaghan said nobody was in the ground-floor unit at the time of the fire.
Occupants in other apartments in the eight-unit building were able to safely evacuate, Kernaghan reported. The Red Cross was brought in to help relocate displaced tenants as needed. A Merced County/Cal Fire report said the Red Cross was assisting in the relocation of eight adults and six children impacted by the fire.
One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at the scene.
One civilian was transported by ambulance to Los Banos after displaying indications of altered level of consciousness related to the incident, officials reported.
The cause of the fire, which was reported at about 5 p.m., is under investigation.
Gustine firefighters were assisted by crews from Santa Nella, Stevinson, Hilmar, Los Banos and Newman. Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours.