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Family loses all in apartment fire triggered by burning incense
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Firemen were successful in saving many of two children’s Christmas presents in an apartment fire on Pennebaker Way Thursday morning that left a family mostly with what they had on their backs. The high intensity light was used to search for possible victims. - photo by GLENN KAHL
A Manteca family lost everything in a Thursday morning apartment fire and is in need of assistance from the community with clothing and furniture.  

They have two children 5 and 2.

The family lived in Pennebaker Apartments in East Manteca located on Pennebaker Way off of Pestana Avenue.

Smoke was seen by neighbors coming from an apartment bedroom – first white and then turning darker – after Teresa Walker had left to run to the store and after dropping her children off on the way.  She returned to see a full call out of fire trucks and personnel near her home when she returned after 10 a.m.

Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters lauded his men for their quick work in keeping the fire contained, preventing it from spreading to nearby apartments.  He said while one crew worked to control the blaze, another fire crew was evacuating other apartment units in the two story building.

Crews also went in the burning apartment in search of possible victims.

He added that a major concern was the possibility of someone being inside the apartment who had succumbed to smoke.  That was not the case as they found no one.

“The guys really made a good stop.  You are worried about it getting into the attic and into other apartments,” he said.

The loss to the structure was estimated at $70,070 by fire investigators with an additional $20,000 loss to the contents.  The fire was believed to have started from incense that had been left burning in a back bedroom possibly igniting curtains in the room, according to investigators.

There were four engine company and a ladder company from Manteca Fire Department and Lathrop Manteca Fire plus 21 personnel that responded to stop the fire from spreading.

The family’s two children are a girl and a boy ages 5 and 2.  As for their clothes sizes, the girl wears a 4 to 5T and size 8 shoes.  The boy wears size 10-12 in shirts and a size 7 in pants and a size one in shoes.

The fire department dipped into the Fire Chief’s Foundation funds and gave the woman a gift card to go shopping for the most immediate needs.

Those wishing to help the family may call fire personnel at 456-8312.