PORT HUENEME : Apartment Fire Leaves Family Without Home

A 2-year-old playing with a cigarette lighter on a mattress caused a two-alarm fire that destroyed a Port Hueneme apartment unit and its contents Wednesday morning, firefighters said.

The blaze severely damaged the apartment in the 200 block of Sharon Lane occupied by Mary Ann Gonzales, her five children and one grandchild, Ventura County Fire Capt. Ron Topolinski said.

There were no injuries in the fire, authorities said.

The Red Cross has housed the Gonzales family in a local motel and provided them with vouchers for restaurant meals and clothing, said Richard Rink, director of disaster services for the Ventura County Chapter of the Red Cross.

"Everything except for what they had on their backs was destroyed there,' Rink said.

Fire officials estimated the damage to the structure at between $30,000 and $50,000. They said an additional $15,000 worth of damage was done to the contents of the apartment.

A neighboring unit suffered smoke damage, fire officials said.

The Fire Department was called at 8:27 a.m. and had the fire under control at 9:04, Topolinski said.

County Fire Capt. Kerry Ellison said the Oxnard Fire Department and U.S. Navy firefighters from Point Mugu helped fight the blaze.

Ellison said the firefighters succeeded in keeping the flames from spreading to four adjoining apartment units.

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