Kids and Fireworks May Be to Blame

Twelve units in one apartment complex were damaged from a fire that may have been started by kids

By Mari Payton
|  Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009  |  Updated 1:07 PM PDT
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Kids and Fireworks May Be to Blame

Fire investigators show the fireworks believed to have started the fire.

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Kids and Fireworks May Be to Blame

Twelve units in one Fallbrook apartment complex were damaged from a fire that may have been started by kids.
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Arson is to blame for a big fire that displaced dozens of people, many of them children, and destroyed part of an apartment complex in Fallbrook.

Forty-one residents are looking for a place to stay after fire tore through the apartment complex, damaging 12 units.  The fire broke out just before 2:30 p.m Monday at an apartment complex in the 1100 block of South Vine Street.

“Everyone was calling 911 saying, oh my God and panicking,” said fire victim Philip Zuniga.

Dozens of people, including small children were forced out of their homes, some had only minutes to escape. Resident Yosette Sierra said, “I didn’t believe it at first, but then everyone was running around.”

One firefighter was injured and taken to Palomar Hospital. He was treated for minor injuries and released.

Investigators are looking for a group of kids, who they believe started the blaze playing with fireworks.

”It was a good that it happened during the day," said John Buchanan with North County Fire. "Pretty much everyone is at work or playing outside so that was a positive. If this would've happened at night this would have been devastating.”

Victims of the fire said they're angry, but not surprised.

“The little kids were playing with fireworks they do it all of the time. You can always hear them exploding fireworks around here,” said Sierra.

Investigators hope the young culprits or their parents come forward.

Victims have no idea when they can return home. Many spent Monday night at a Red Cross Shelter at the Fallbrook Presbyterian Church.  The local chapter of the American Red Cross provided meals, snacks and water.

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