The investigation continued late Wednesday into the cause of a large apartment fire that killed one man, injured a woman and left 15 people without a home.
Firefighters were called around 1 a.m. Wednesday to the Brookdale North apartment complex, 302 Brookdale Drive in Merced. Officers from the Merced Police Department found one may lying in the parking lot, suffering from undetermined injuries, Battalion Chief Billy Alcorn said.
The man believed to be in his 50s, whose name was not released, was rushed to an area hospital. He was pronounced dead a short time later, Alcorn said. Firefighters declined to comment on the nature of the man’s injuries or the cause of his death.
A second resident, a woman whose name was available, apparently jumped from her second-story apartment to escape the blaze. Neighbors worked together to try to catch the woman and break her fall, three witnesses said. She suffered a leg injury and was treated at the scene, authorities said.
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Denise Turner, the apartment supervisor, said the woman injured her right leg.
Turner said more than 100 people live in the 58-unit complex near G Street. She said a fire broke out at the complex about five years ago, but nobody was injured.
Battalion Chief Cory Haas said three homes sustained major fire damage and five others were damaged by smoke. Nine homes were damaged in the blaze.
The cause of the fire and a damage estimate remained under investigation. “We can’t speculate about anything at this point,” Haas said. “It’s all still under investigation. Nothing has been ruled out.”
A total of 19 firefighters from all city stations battled the flames. Merced County firefighters covered the city stations and service calls while city firefighters were on scene, Haas said.
“A total of 15 people were displaced by the fire,” Haas said Wednesday afternoon. “Some are staying with friends or family, others are receiving help from (the American Red Cross).”
All 15 residents have found places to stay, he said.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482