MODESTO – A massive downtown fire tore through the American Lumber Company Friday morning.
The fire was dispatched shortly after midnight at the American Lumber Company on 9th Street. By 12:30am the fire was advanced to a third alarm, summoning personnel from Modesto, Ceres and Stanislaus Consolidated.
Police officers closed much of 9th Street and surrounding roadways to traffic. Multiple engines and at least three ladder trucks were utilized to fight the intense flames, however several buildings collapsed from extensive damage.
The flames cast a bright orange glow against the nearby Double Tree Hotel. Smoke and fire could be seen from as far as Salida.
By 2:00am much of the flames had died down. In total 13 engines, 5 trucks and 5 chief officers were on scene, totaling to about 64 firefighters.
A fire load of lumber proved challenging for firefighters. The downtown water system was maxed out, limiting the amount of pressure provided to fire equipment. Power lines had collapsed, but utility crews shut off power to the area to allow firefighters to work. The railroads behind the business were shut down. Officials said some railroad ties were damaged and would require inspection.
Investigators were on scene working to determine a cause.
Teen Suffers Head Wound in Highway Shooting, Suspects Arrested
STOCKTON – Investigators with the California Highway Patrol arrested a man suspected of being involved in a shooting that wounded a teen Monday afternoon.
The incident happened shortly after 3:00pm near the area of Highway 99 and Kettleman Lane in Lodi. According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a Nissan Altima fired a gun several times at the victim vehicle, striking a teenage passenger in the head. The driver of the victim vehicle drove the teen to Lodi Memorial Hospital for care. Valley Division CHP Investigators responded to work the case.
Moses Mercado, a 21 year old resident of Lodi, was identified as a suspect during the course of the investigation. Investigators located and arrested Mercado after a brief pursuit in South Stockton that ended on South California near Worth Street. A passenger of the Nissan Altima, 21 year old Bella Villanueva of Ripon, was also arrested. Villanueva faces charges of aiding and abetting, conspiracy, and concealing evidence.
Mercado was charged with attempted murder, carrying a loaded firearm with a previous felony conviction, being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, and shooting at an inhabited vehicle. He is in custody without bail and due in court on June 30th at 1:30pm.
A third suspect, 29 year old Edgar Hernandez of Stockton, was arrested and charged with carrying a loaded unregistered firearm concealed in a vehicle.
“We want to assure the public that these acts of violence are not random, but are often targeted attacks between parties that know each other,” said Commander Mel Hutsell of the Stockton CHP Office. “We take these types of incidents very seriously and are committed to ensuring public safety.”
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact CHP Investigations at (916) 731-6300.
Brush Fire Fills Skies with Smoke
SALIDA – A brush fire in the north end of Stanislaus County filled the skies over Modesto and neighboring communities with smoke Monday and Tuesday.
The fire was reported in San Joaquin County initially, but jumped the Stanislaus River late Monday afternoon. The fire burned in heavy brush along the river near the 10100 block of Beckwith Road.
Early indications suggest the fire to have burned 150-200 acres, however at time of publication an exact measurement was not available.
Airport Neighborhood Shooting Investigated
MODESTO – One person was rushed to a hospital after a report of a person shot Monday Afternoon.
The incident happened shortly after 1:30pm near the intersection of Kerr Avenue and Tenaya Drive. An ambulance left with one person and a sheriff deputy following close behind.
The area was closed off with crime scene tape as deputies examined the scene. Evidence technicians and investigators responded as well.
No further details were available at time of publication.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.
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