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Family of 13 escapes fire that causes $150K damage to home; Red Cross to help

WINTON — A Hmong family of 13 escaped with their lives Thursday after they awakened to a fire burning inside their home.

About 12 members of the Merced County Fire Department responded to the residence on the 6700 block of Lorna Avenue after receiving a call about the fire around 7 a.m., according to Battalion Chief Brian Neely.

Neely said no one was injured, and firefighters were able to contain the blaze within 25 minutes. The fire began in a bedroom inside the home and spread to the attic, Neely said. He estimated that the fire caused about $50,000 in property and $100,000 in structural damage to the home.

Investigators believe the fire was unintentional and probably electrical in nature.

At least one of the 11 children in the 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom home was awakened by the fire, Neely said. With no time to pack any belongings, Neely said the parents and children left immediately. “They were unable to get anything out other than themselves,” Neely said.

Volunteers from the Red Cross also arrived at the scene to provide assistance to the family, according to Larry Reed, executive director of the Red Cross Merced/Mariposa Counties Chapter.

The Red Cross will house the family and provide basic services for three days, Reed said.

Reed said anyone who would like to help the family, or any other fire victims, can contact the Red Cross Merced/Mariposa Counties Chapter at (209) 383-2150.

For more about this story, read Friday’s Merced Sun-Star.