BAKERSFIELD - Fire investigators are looking into the cause of an explosion and fire at an apartment complex in northeast Bakersfield. One resident was severely burned and three families were displaced.
The property manager says five people lived in the three damaged units, two lived in the unit were the explosion occurred. He said they're all doing fine with at least a temporary place to stay.
By night, it looked like a ball of fire. "We heard a big bang. It was loud," said Abel Carlon, neighbor.
By day, it was charred wood, the remnants of what flames left behind at the three-unit apartment complex.
"That doesn't look too good over there," said Anthony Terrell, nearby groundskeeper.
It happened at the intersection of Mount Vernon Ave and Eric Way on the northeast side of Bakersfield.
"Just moved out here from Kentucky and if there are going to be fires I think I should just move back there," said Terrell.
Officials said an explosion ignited the fire just before midnight Thursday. The Bakersfield Fire Department believes the cause of the fire was accidental, but arson investigators were on scene.
"We don't like it," said Gene Waterfield, property manager. "I haven't heard the full story yet, but we don't know what happened."
Waterfield has managed this property for three years. He says three residents were home at the time of the fire including a father, son, and younger male. According to Waterfield, at the time of the explosion the father was in the kitchen and the son was in the bedroom. The Bakersfield Fire Department said the man was severely burned.
On Friday, his son came back to look at the damage, telling 17 News his father was at a hospital in Fresno, but was doing fine.
Initially, some thought the damaged units were part of the Vernon Vista complex that caught fire last month.
"I don't know. I have been getting people who've been telling me there has been a fire in the same apartment complex," said Terrell.
But, this fire was at a complex across the street, a complex the property manager said will be fixed as soon as they're able, because right now the units are uninhabitable.
"We'll fix it up again," said Waterfield. "You know, if they have renter's insurance they're covered, but otherwise it's you know we'll have to give them a little break on their rent."
Damage is estimated at $500,000.