TEMECULA: Ten displaced by two-alarm fire at apartment complex

TEMECULA – Ten people from four apartments were displaced by a two-alarm fire that broke out in a family of five’s Temecula apartment April 29. More than 40 firefighters battled the blaze that broke out Saturday morning at the Sage Canyon Apartments on the 42000 block of Moraga Road, south of Margarita and north of Rancho California Roads.

The second story apartment sustained heavy damage during the fire. Danny Bennett photo

Cal Fire/Riverside County and Murrieta Fire Protection District firefighters were dispatched to the complex just after 8 a.m., after Riverside County emergency dispatchers began to receive “multiple reports of smoke and flames coming from an apartment,” Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer April Newman explained in an incident report.

Forty firefighters from nine engine companies and two truck companies responded to the blaze, according to Newman. They were assisted by a breathing support unit.

“The first arriving engine company reported a well-established fire on the second floor of a two-story apartment complex,” Newman explained. Firefighters began an immediate, aggressive attack on the fire, while nearby residents were quickly evacuated from their homes.

Evacuated residents were seen standing in the area watching the efforts of the firefighters. Many were still wearing their pajamas or night-clothes, after being woken up unexpectedly that morning.

While firefighters battled the blaze, deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Temecula Police Station responded to the area to assist with crowd and traffic control. Several nearby streets were closed to through traffic or affected while firefighters continued to fight the fire.

Firefighters managed to knock the fire down just before 10 a.m. “The fire has been contained to one apartment on the second floor of the complex,” Newman explained. “Three additional apartments (sustained) smoke and water damage.”

Firefighters look on after the fire is extinguished. Danny Bennett photo

Officials summoned Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company employees to the scene to shut off utilities to the four damaged apartments and the damaged portion of the complex.

After firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control, one nearby resident, Danny Bennett, said he woke to the sound of his neighbors’ screams as they fled from the burning section of the large apartment complex.

Bennett later thanked the involved agencies “for responding so quickly and ensuring everyone’s safety.”

The fire, smoke and water damage to the four apartments left a total of six adults and four children temporarily homeless, according to Newman. American Red Cross officials responded to the location to assist those displaced by the blaze.

Newman estimated the loss at about $200,000. She also stated that firefighter’s efforts had saved about $750,000 in property from the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.