One person was killed and 13 others displaced early Sunday after flames gutted an apartment complex in Chowchilla.
The victim’s badly burned body was found inside one of the apartments after the fire was extinguished. Authorities have not released the name of the victim pending notification of family.
“This was a tragic morning due to the death of the occupant of one of the apartments,” Chowchilla Police Chief Dave Riviere said.
Chowchilla Police and Volunteer Fire Departments were called around 7:35 a.m. Sunday to the 500 block of North 11th Street after receiving a 911 call reporting a structure fire.
Officers and firefighters found one of the apartments of a triplex apartment building engulfed in flames. The building was evacuated.
Firefighters contained the fire to one apartment and prevented flames from spreading to the other two units.
Madera County firefighters assisted in extinguishing the blaze. Pacific Gas & Electric turned off the gas and electricity to the units.
The residents were moved to a nearby church while the fire was being extinguished. Water and smoke damage inside building prevented the occupants from returning to their homes. The American Red Cross will help find shelter for the displaced residents, authorities said.
A damage estimate was not available Monday.
Authorities said it was too early to comment on the cause of the fire. A fire investigator from Cal Fire was requested to respond to assist with the investigation.
Riviere praised the firefighters for preventing further damage.
“It was because of their efforts only one unit was lost and not all three and the remaining occupants were evacuated safely and provided food and shelter,” he said.
Fire investigators and Chowchilla police are working together to determine the cause of the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call Chowchilla police at 559-665-8600.