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Apartment complex fire leaves 46 people homeless in Santa Maria

Firefighters in Santa Maria battled a blaze that broke out at an apartment complex in the 900 block of West Morrison Avenue early Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters peered in through the burning roof of this La Vista Apartment building in Santa Maria Wednesday – tense moments for the 46 people who were evacuated.

“I couldn’t believe it,” evacuee George Hernandez said.

The fire started in a downstairs unit in the apartments off of Morrison Avenue and Oakley Avenue. It quickly spread to 7 other units.

“It was scary because I saw a lot of fire coming down,” Hernandez said.

It caused the evacuation of all 16 units which were deemed uninhabitable.

“Yea, gotta grab my dogs first, they were all scared running around so I had to chase them upstairs, downstairs, under the table,” Hernandez said.

George Hernandez and his wife just moved into this place four months ago.

“I was having a hard time finding a place to live, now that I finally have a place, I have to be out again, so pretty sad, pretty bad,” Hernandez said.

It was a mad dash to get belongings out of the building – people were carting out blankets, pillows, clothes, furniture and TV’s.

“I’ll probably be taking this with me, guess I’ll be barbequing somewhere, I got this for Christmas, from my daughters,” Hernandez said.

George’s wife Jeannette received the dreaded evacuation phone call while she was at work.

“Stressful, I’m stressed out,” evacuee Jeanette Hernandez said.

The fire started just after noon Wednesday.

“It’s just hard, I don’t want to go through this, I want to be comfortable at night,” Jeannette said.

No-one was hurt. The Red Cross is finding the victims temporary housing.

“We’ve been through this before at another place we lived at so it’s just a little frustrating for me,” Jeannette said.

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