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More Than Two Dozen People Homeless Following Fire

The blaze started as a car fire in front of an apartment complex.

A late-night fire at a house near downtown left 26 people homeless, but no one was hurt in the blaze.

The fire was reported at 11:20 p.m. It apparently started as a car fire and spread to a nearby house at 54 Union St., according to emergency radio traffic. It also knocked down wires in front of the home, which hampered Watsovnille firefighters' efforts until Pacific Gas & Electric crews arrived to cut power.

The two-story house had been converted into three apartments. The damage was limited to the exterior of the building—siding eaves and a small amount of the roof—but the building is structurally sound, Watsonville Fire Chief Mark Bisbee said. But the service drops and meters were damaged at the address, so the local chapter of the American Red Cross helped the 26 residents with temporary housing.

Two parked cars also were damaged by the fire, Bisbee said.

It's the second fire to displace a large number of people in Watsonville this winter.

Last month, 17 people living in two houses on nearby Grant Street lost their homes when .

Steve Bankhead February 25, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Morning newspapers reported firefighters believe the fire was caused by a cigarette discarded on a sofa sitting against the house exterior in the carport driveway...right by the utility connections. Whether it started that way or in a tenant vehicle, the property owner will be stuck with the expense and headaches of repairs.
Cathy P. February 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Hmmm, 26 people living in 3 apartments, sure glad no one was seriously injured.

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