MANTECA (CBS13) — Firefighters are on edge in Manteca after flames blew through part of a construction site Sunday morning.
It happened at the Tesoro apartment complex on Van Ryan Avenue and East Atherton Road.
Three buildings under construction were destroyed – and with the heavy winds, firefighters are on 24-hour watch. The fire was first spotted by an onsite security guard.
One firefighter was injured during the fire. The fire chief tells CBS13 that firefighter is in the hospital and expected to recover.
Giant flames whipped through the wooden framing of the brand new apartment complex still under construction. The intense orange glow could be seen from Highway 99 and Highway 120.
“It was out of this world!” Jordan Fenske lives right across from the construction site, and describes what he saw, moments after he says he heard loud pops. “Giant flames they were reaching over, I’m like what’s going on? I thought it was coming towards us,” Fenske added.
“It was probably five to six stories high,” said another neighbor.
The intensity of the blaze was enough to make Bill Lindstedt uneasy.
“You could feel the heat coming through the window,” he said.
The wind-driven flames challenged firefighters, who couldn’t get too close.
“Because the buildings were under construction, they burn very hot and very fast, none of the fire sprinklers or fire suppression systems are in place,” said Manteca Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd.
Shipherd said the construction site has had an ongoing battle with transients camping in buildings, and stealing wires and other construction materials.
“There was no power to the building and so that’s typically one of the items we would look at for causing a fire,” Shipherd added.
Shipherd says three buildings will now have to be demolished. He says this is the first major fire in about eight years.
The complex was supposed to be ready to open by this summer. Shipherd says the property owner tells him he fears the project will now be delayed another year.