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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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Officer Involved Shooting Investigated in Tracy

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Officers examine a corner of Mosswood Court Friday afternoon where an officer involved shooting took place.

TRACY – One person who was said to be armed with a knife was rushed to a hospital Friday afternoon after being shot by a police officer.

Shortly before 2:00pm officers were called to the area of Mosswood Court for a report of a person with a knife chasing another. During the encounter an arriving officer fired his gun at the person said to be armed with a knife.

Officials at the scene said the person shot was rushed to a hospital in unknown condition. They had identified that person but were holding that information for a proper time.

The neighborhood was closed off while investigators responded to determine what took place.

No other injuries were reported.

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Aircraft Emergency Investigation Closes Mitchell Bridge

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Emergency personnel examine a crashed airplane near the Mitchel Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

MODESTO – An investigation into an aircraft emergency closed the northbound lanes of the Mitchell Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1:00pm emergency crews were dispatched to the fields east of the Mitchell Road Bridge north of the Tuolumne River for a report of a plane crash.

Arriving rescuers found a plane crashed face down into the ground near a group of trees. One person was deceased in the aircraft according to an official at the scene.

One witness at the scene said he was driving down Hatch Road when he noticed the plane at an awkward angle, but thought nothing of it at first.

No cause of the crash or estimated time of opening for Mitchell Road was available at time of publication.

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Double Homicide Investigated in Merced County, Warrant Issued For Suspect

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HILMAR – Authorities with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office are searching for a 40 year old man in connection to a double homicide that happened Tuesday night.

Authorities responded to the 19000 block of American Avenue regarding a possible homicide Tuesday night. Arriving deputies located two adult victims deceased.

Wednesday authorities identified 40 year old Victor Bazan as a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest. Officials believe he is related to one of the victims, and he is known to be transient to the Modesto, Ceres and Turlock areas.

Relatives of one of the victims reaching out said a white stolen vehicle Bazan may have been traveling in was found abandoned in Bakersfield.

Anyone with information regarding Bazan’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact law enforcement immediately. He should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact (209) 651-2852 where callers can remain anonymous.

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