STOCKTON, Calif. --
An explosion was heard near the start of a four-alarm blaze that destroyed or damaged at least 17 apartments Thursday in Stockton.
Police detained a resident for questioning and workers were sifting through the ashes in a search for a cause and any possible hazardous materials. At least 10 of the units were a total loss.
The fire marked the second huge blaze to strike the city in the past month.
Firefighters were called at 3:30 a.m. to the Vintage Square Apartments in the 1100 block of Rosemarie Lane.
Crews arrived to find flames shooting out of the roof of the complex. Firefighters and police made at least two rescues of people trapped inside.
Police said the detained man was not arrested. His name was not immediately available.
Residents said the fire was huge. While many units were gutted by flames, many others sustained serious water damage.
"When I came outside, it was pretty big," said resident Stanley Hoffman, noting that the flames were as high as nearby trees.
Many residents said they lost everything in the fire. The Red Cross arrived to help the victims find a place to stay.
The blaze compounded earlier tragedy for one family. A man and his daughter had just moved into one unit after the girl's mother died of sickle-cell anemia. They lost all of their photos and possessions.
"Everything is gone," said Bernice Bass, a relative of the man and daughter.
About 75 firefighters tackled the blaze. Crews were expected to stay in the area all day to prevent the fire from starting up again.
On June 11, a big fire destroyed about 30 homes and condominiums in the Quail Lakes area of Stockton.