LOCKEFORD — The Mokelumne Rural Fire District and the San Joaquin County Fire Investigation Unit announced Tuesday that the July 24 fire that destroyed a Lockeford apartment complex was accidentally caused by a resident.
A media release issued Tuesday afternoon stated that “the fire appears to be accidental in nature and started in the outside enclosed area of Unit 5 by the tenant due to the improper use of fire. There were other factors performed by the tenant that might have contributed to the fast spread of the fire.”
Fire Chief Frank Ramirez said the tenant had a gas can in the enclosed patio and threw it over a wall to the outside of the building. It is still unclear if that action helped the fire spread, he said.
The San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Department has taken over the investigation, the statement read.
Firefighters responded to the blaze at the Locke-Haven Apartments at about 8:20 p.m. on July 24.
All 14 units were evacuated and destroyed during the fire, to which eight districts and departments responded.
Some 30 residents of the complex were displaced by the fire, and 10 people were treated for injuries, four of whom were neighbors evacuating tenants from the building.