Fire in Martinez damages 8 cars and apartment


Firefighters arrived at the scene around 3:15 a.m. and the blaze was finally put out around 6 a.m. One neighbor couldn't believe how quickly the flames spread.

"It's very scary, it was so close, that's why I was waking up my family to get out of here because things were just blowing up," said neighbor Monica Gutierrez.

The owner of the building found out about the fire while watching the morning news.

"You're shocked, you're watching TV and see your building burning down," said property owner Rob Fitzstephens.

He leased the office and the lot to a man who sold cars - eight of them were destroyed. But he also had an apartment on the lot and one of the tenants says the fire was all his fault.

"We lost everything, everything we own except these clothes we are wearing -- I don't even have a wallet," said fire victim Ray Moultrie.

Moultrie he says he left the house around 3 a.m. when his friend called and asked him to return his dog to him. He left some potatoes frying on the stovetop and his girlfriend asleep on the couch.

"By the time I got back, the house was pretty much involved and nothing but a fireball. I thank god she got out," said Moultrie.

Firefighters pulled the pot from the home; the contents were burned in the fire. Neighbors and the property owner have complained about Moultrie's lifestyle and the constant flow of people at his home. He says he has turned his life around and that it was just a cooking error that caused this.

"I had recently cut everybody off from being anywhere near our property and gotten it all cleaned up," said Moultrie.

Moultrie said he had been homeless with his girlfriend for about 10 years before catching a break from Fitzstephens. Moultrie said he has rebuilt his life before and will do it again.

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