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'What are we going to do now?'
Marysville fire burns out two families
Eyes red from smoke and tears, children clustered together to comfort one another as they watched a fire tear through their Marysville home Saturday afternoon.
As the blaze in the 300 block of B Street grew, the house's windows started to burst and the roof began caving in, appearing to melt into the second story as 25 firefighters struggled to control the flames from every angle.
"What are we going to do now?" Maria Cruz, 11, asked her mother, Karina Cruz, between tears, as the fire raged on more than an hour after it began.
The displaced families clustered on the steps of a nearby house, talking about how everything they had was inside and is now likely destroyed. One of the little boys had fled so quickly, he did not even have shoes.
The fire started at 2:30 p.m. and by the time it was contained more than 1½ hours later, the house was substantially damaged.
The worst damage was in the second story but overall destruction left the entire house uninhabitable, said Don Cockrum, Cal Fire battalion chief. There were no injuries.
Smoke clouded an adjacent yard from the sun as onlookers gathered to watch the tragedy unfold. One upstairs room glowed orange as it filled with ceiling-high flames.
Water poured down the siding and stairs as firefighters blasted the house with streams of water.
Marysville, Yuba City, Linda and Olivehurst fire departments, Cal Fire and the Office of Emergency Services responded to the blaze. The Marysville Police Department helped keep the block closed to traffic.
An investigation is ongoing, but the fire appears to have started in the attic, Cockrum said. The cause has not been determined.
Residents and neighbors said they first spotted flames in the grass between the houses.
"We were in our rooms and we just heard crackling noises," Maria Cruz said. "I could see fire in the grass and I just started screaming."
She rushed to help her mother get all the children out of the upstairs apartment they had lived in for more than two years. The fire displaced the 10 members of her family, and the nine members of the Lopez family living in the downstairs apartment also lost their home.
Black and gray smoke billowed from the second-story windows as flames licked at trees in the backyard. Eventually, Marysville Fire Department raised its engine ladder high above the street to attack the flames from above.
At one point, the flames spread to 309 B Street, a vacant home next door, but firefighters quickly contained it. The house also burned about seven years ago, said neighbor George Bradley.
His daughter, Savannha Bradley, 9, spotted the fire right after it started and alerted her parents to call 911.
"It was scary because it happened so quick," she said. "I smelled smoke and thought it was fireworks or something, but then I saw it was fire and I ran and told my mom."
The flames quickly ballooned in size and crawled up to the roof, and Savannha Bradley and her parents joined dozens of onlookers who watched from sidewalks and the alley behind the house.
George Bradley was pleased by the firefighters' quick response, he said. They arrived within minutes and spent hours putting out the blaze and stayed into the night mopping up.
Yuba County Victim/Witness Assistance Program, the Trauma Intervention Program and the Red Cross were on scene to counsel and offer aid to the displaced families.
A neighbor, David, who asked his last name not be used, is good friends with the Lopez family and said he can be contacted at 743-3519 if anyone would like to offer help the residents before the Red Cross office opens Monday and can begin accepting donations.
Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Ashley Gebb at 749-4724 or email@example.com.