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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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Sonora Street Homicide Investigated

Carlos Rodriguez

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STOCKTON – Police investigated the shooting death of a 40 year old man on Sonora Street Sunday night.

At about 6:49pm police officers responded to the 2400 block of East Sonora Street for a report of a shooting. Arriving officers found a 40 year old man who had been shot. He was rushed to a hospital where he died.

Detectives responded to investigate the case. Police said there was no motive or suspect information as of Monday morning.

Anyone with information regarding this case can call investigators at (209) 937-8323 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Ceres Shooting Claims Life of Motorist

Carlos Rodriguez

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CERES – A shooting Thursday night killed a motorist, becoming the city’s second homicide investigation in two weeks.

At about 6:28pm officers responded to the area of Kay and Magnolia Streets for a vehicle collision where the motorist appeared shot. Arriving officers found the driver shot inside the vehicle, which had collided into a parked car just west of the intersection.

Officers pulled the driver out of the vehicle and began life-saving measures until medics arrived. He was transported to a hospital where he died. Authorities identified him as 26 year old Alexis Perez of Ceres.

Detectives responded to examine the scene and gather evidence. The vehicle, a white Honda Accord, had front end collision damage and airbags deployed.

Sergeant Vince Hooper with the Ceres Police Department said investigators were looking for any witnesses or anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious in the area. Sergeant Hooper said they had no information on a suspect Thursday night.

Investigators were working to determine if there may be any relation to last week’s shooting on Malik Avenue.

Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Detective Matthew Berlier at (209) 538-5616.

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Armed Suspect Captured After Pursuit, Crash

Carlos Rodriguez

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STOCKTON – A pursuit involving an armed suspect ended in a collision Monday evening.

At about 6:33pm an officer tried to pull over a vehicle and recognized the motorist as someone who was on post release community supervision for gun charges. The driver did not stop and led the officer on a pursuit.

The suspect vehicle collided into a pole near the intersection of East Miner Avenue and North Pilgrim Street. The Stockton Police vehicle behind the suspect collided into the duplex on the corner.

The officer in the vehicle and one occupant of the home were taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Police say the suspect was apprehended and found with a firearm in his possession. Their identity was not available Monday night.

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