Two Merced fires under investigation

Two recent fires are under investigation in Merced, including one that displaced an apartment resident and caused an estimated $60,000 in damage.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

Flames were reported early Tuesday in the living room of an apartment at 3302 R St. in Merced.

Merced Fire Department Battalion Chief Donald Roe said the cause of the fire remains under investigation and that arson had not been ruled out.

The fire was reported at 3:52 a.m. and 19 city firefighters responded to the call. Flames were extinguished within 15 minutes. Nine residents from four neighboring units were initially displaced.

Firefighters remained on the scene until about 7 a.m. Tuesday. All but one of the residents returned to their units the next day, Roe said. The resident’s name was not available.

Later that day, at 10:41 p.m., firefighters returned to same apartment for a second fire that started outside. There were no injuries or damage reported in the second fire.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in determining the cause of the fires. Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area or has any information regarding the fires is asked to contact the Merced County Area Crime Stoppers at (855) 725-2420 or text the word “MERCED” plus the information to 274637 (crimes). Callers can remain anonymous.