Two tenants evicted hours before fire at Walnut Creek complex

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Crews battled a fire at an apartment complex on Ygnacio Valley Road and Walnut Avenue early Wednesday morning.

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At least 30 firefighters responded to the scene at 12:30 a.m.
Officials said residents ran out of the 6-unit apartment building to get to safety and that the fire may have started on the second floor in a bedroom.

Residents said it was scary, but not a surprise. "It's suspicious to me," property manager Toni Guttry said.

People living in the complex said a woman and her boyfriend who were renting a unit have caused problems ever since they moved in last fall. "Dirty filthy, always up late at night, making noise at night, there was a lot of traffic coming in and out," one woman said. "Just yelling at people, telling them not to snitch, using racial slurs, it's just not OK."

Neighbors describe domestic violence, dog bites, erratic behavior, and many visits from the police department. "It's been a hard burden to have to go down this road with them because whatever is happening to them is happening to our community," Guttry said.

Residents and the property manager told ABC7 News those tenants had just been evicted, hours before the fire broke out. "They were supposed to be out yesterday and that's all we know and we feel really sorry for the people below them because of the sad situation," a neighbor said.

Eight people were displaced by the fire, and that does not include the woman or her boyfriend. Their unit has fire damage, and four other homes have smoke and water damage. "That's scary because there is a lot of families here. I raised my kids here, so I am glad they are gone, though," a woman said.

The Red Cross helped eight people, a total of two families, get settled and find a place to stay because their condominiums are uninhabitable.

Officials said no injuries were reported.

The cause of this fire is under investigation.
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