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Nut Company Fire Operations Expected to be Lengthy

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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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Police Investigate Report of Stabbing

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MODESTO – Police responded to a report of a person stabbed Tuesday night near Downtown Modesto.

The report was dispatched shortly after 9:00pm to the area of Tenth and K Streets. Early reports indicate the victim was stabbed and fled to Cesar Chavez Park where he called for help.

Police, fire and medical personnel responded to the park where they located the victim. He appeared to have visible wounds and blood on his back. He was taken by ambulance for care.

Officers searched the area near where the stabbing was said to have occurred for any signs of a crime scene. A confirmed suspect description and circumstances surrounding the incident were not available at time of publication.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Modesto Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Man Airlifted After Waking With Burn Injuries

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MODESTO – A man was flown by helicopter for care after he woke with life-threatening burn injuries to the front of his body.

At about 9:30am Monday, deputies with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 600 block of South Seventh Street for a report of a burn victim. A man was found suffering from life-threatening injuries and was prepped to be airlifted by helicopter.

Fire crews set up a landing zone at a nearby truck stop where an air ambulance was called to transport the victim to a hospital out of the county.

Detectives with the Crimes Against Persons Unit responded to take over the investigation. A crime scene was taped off along South Seventh Street just under the Highway 99 overpass.

Authorities believe the victim was asleep under the overpass when he was burned. He then walked to a relative’s home to call 911 for help. The circumstances surrounding the incident were being investigated.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact Detective Veronica Esquivez at (209) 652-1792 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Car Crash Causes Chain Reaction of Power Outages, Fires

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MODESTO – A vehicle that collided into a utility pole Thursday afternoon caused a chain reaction of power outages and fires in a West Modesto neighborhood.

The incident happened Thursday shortly before 12:30pm. A vehicle collision near Rouse and Roselawn Avenues involving a utility pole caused power lines to snap mid-block to the west. The energized lines collapsed and sparked a fire that quickly engulfed at least one outbuilding. The fire began to spread south consuming vegetation and jumping fences into neighboring properties.

Several fire crews responded from various agencies, including Turlock City and Manteca. Firefighters were able to control the forward spread of the fire mid-block on Colorado Avenue. Some neighbors used garden hoses to defend their properties as best as they could.

Emergency crews were on scene for several hours. Utility crews de-energized the damaged lines for repair. Several residents in the area were without power for some time while repairs were made.

The driver of the involved car that crashed into a utility pole was not located. Police officers responded to investigate. There was an apparent auto theft nearby roughly around the same time, but authorities weren’t sure if the incidents were connected.

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

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