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Nut Company Fire Operations Expected to be Lengthy

Carlos Rodriguez

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MODESTO – A massive fire that tore through two warehouses and several tons of nut product was expected to keep firefighters busy overnight and into Monday.

The fire was dispatched at about 1:30pm near the intersection of River Road and Bunker Avenue. With the fire being an unknown type, initially a single Ceres Fire engine was dispatched. Officials at the scene say employees at the Pepsi facility called in the fire.

Arriving firefighters encountered major smoke and flame from behind a warehouse on Bunker Avenue, calling for a commercial structure fire response. Additional resources in downtown Ceres observed heavy smoke conditions from the fire, and soon more resources were called to the scene. In total, three alarms were called on the fire.

The fire was consuming about 1,000 tons of nut product according to Bret Presson, a Battalion Chief with the Ceres Fire Department. The fire had begun to extend into the warehouse and office building which it would eventually also destroy. Several crates and trailers were also destroyed.

The flames were extending so much that it also caught the roof of a neighboring beverage company warehouse on fire. The fire caused a lighting fixture to collapse into the building, scrambling firefighters to prevent any further damage there.

Resources county wide were drained during the firefight. Presson said a total of 19 engines, 4 trucks and 4 water tenders responded to battle the blaze. San Joaquin County sent a strike team of firefighters to cover additional calls within Stanislaus County while crews were tied up on Bunker Avenue.

The City of Modesto sent a backhoe and front loader to assist fire crews. Presson explained that the incident was a challenge in the fact that the nut product had to be separated and drowned to be properly extinguished, similar to a hay fire. Utility companies also were called to respond to secure gas and electricity.

Eight chief officers and a Modesto training officer responded due to the complexity of the fire. One firefighter suffered a heat related illness and was transported to a hospital. Presson said he was treated and released shortly after and sent home to recover.

Firefighters were expected to remain at the scene overnight and into Monday to continue extinguishing flames, which at 10:00pm were still visible. Smoke continued to drift south into Ceres.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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Car Wash Fundraiser Planned for Shooting Victim

Carlos Rodriguez

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MODESTO – A car wash fundraiser benefitting Evan Robinson, the teen who was shot and killed over the weekend near a taco truck in Keyes, was planned for Saturday.

The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00am at Stanislaus Towing at 1307 Angie Avenue.

Robinson, 16, was shot during a fight near Seventh Street and Martha Avenue in Keyes. Emergency personnel attempted to save his life, but he did not survive his injuries. Investigators believe he was an unintended victim.

No suspect information was released in the case. Authorities are asking for witnesses to come forward.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Deputy, Hostage Wounded in Shooting With Suspect

Carlos Rodriguez

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SAN ANDREAS – An elderly woman and a deputy were injured during a hostage situation that left the suspect dead Thursday night in Calaveras County.

At about 10:39pm dispatchers received a 911 call regarding an argument between a man and a woman at the Sierra Inn Motel. The caller reported the man had pointed a gun at the woman’s head. Deputies with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office responded to investigate, but the suspect had left the area before they arrived.

Deputies began searching the area for the suspect, treating the case as a domestic violence incident. As a deputy interviewed the victim at an apartment complex, the suspect ambushed the deputy and victim opening fire and wounding the deputy. The deputy was able to get the victim to safety.

Additional deputies, CHP officers and Angels Camp Police responded to the scene and began searching the apartment complex. The suspect emerged from an apartment holding an elderly woman hostage with a gun. Authorities believe the hostage was unrelated to the initial incident.

Authorities tried to reason with the man and get him to release the hostage, but their efforts did not work. As the suspect posed a threat to the hostage, authorities opened fire. Both the suspect and hostage were wounded during the shooting. The suspect died at the scene, the hostage was transported by air ambulance to a regional trauma center for care.

The ambushed deputy was airlifted as well. Both he and the hostage were expected to survive.

The incident is under investigation by multiple agencies. No further details were released Friday afternoon.

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Shooting Kills Teen After Fight in Keyes

Carlos Rodriguez

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KEYES – A shooting during a fight claimed the life of a teen Sunday night.

Shortly after 8:45pm Sunday, authorities responded to a report of a shooting near the intersection of Seventh Street and Martha Avenue. Deputies arrived and found an unresponsive teen who had been shot multiple times in the roadway. Life saving measures were performed, however the victim died at the scene.

Witnesses said a fight broke out while people were eating at a taco truck and shots were fired. Investigators believe that the victim may have been an unintended victim hit by gunfire. A silver car was seen leaving the area and believed to be involved in the homicide.

Detectives responded to investigate the case. Much of the intersection and surrounding streets were closed off as a crime scene for the investigation. Persons of interest were identified, but investigators need more witnesses to come forward to name a suspect.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Hickman at (209) 525-7042, or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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