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East Village blaze forces residents from home

Posted at 10:34 AM, Jun 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-10 13:34:38-04

EAST VILLAGE, Calif., (KGTV) — A house fire forced residents to flee their homes on the 300 block of 19th Street Saturday morning.

“It’s shocking because it’s a house you’ve seen for 45 years, and all of a sudden it’s burning,” said Christine Gerrero.

She said she woke up to the smell of smoke and saw it billowing out of the home next door.

Fire crews said it started in the backyard and traveled to the attic.

“They just said get your things, just go, get yourself and go,” said Gerrero.

She said firefighters told her and at least ten other people nearby to quickly leave their homes. 

“The whole back was going to go because there were flames, fire flames,” said Gerrero. 

Firefighters said they believe homeless squatters started the fire in the backyard. Residents said homelessness has been a huge problem in their neighborhood. 

“We have such bad problems with the homeless,” said Gerrero. 

It took crews about 15 minutes to knock down the fire. It completely damaged the home’s back. Neighbors were allowed to return home after about two hours. 

No one was hurt.