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Barbecue May Have Sparked Fire At San Rafael Apartment Complex

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) - A fire at a San Rafael apartment complex Saturday morning that appears to have been sparked by barbecue materials left on a deck overnight displaced as many as 10 residents, San Rafael fire officials said.

Fire crews responded to a fire at an apartment building at 220 Canal St. at 9:40 a.m. after someone out on the water reported the flames, fire officials said.

When crews arrived, the fire was burning toward the rear of the complex on a second floor deck, fire official said.

Firefighters helped evacuate residents from the 43-unit complex, while other crews knocked down the blaze.

The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes, however crews remained at the complex into the late morning checking that the fire did not spread within the walls and ceilings.

No injuries to residents or the 18 firefighters that responded were reported, fire officials said.

Fire officials said the apartment where the fire started had a non-functioning smoke detector with its battery removed.

The fire is under investigation, but it appears to have been started by the remnants of a barbecue from Friday night.

The damage to the apartment and its contents was estimated around $30,000, fire officials said.

The American Red Cross was called to the apartment complex to assist with anywhere from five to 10 displaced residents, fire officials said.

Fire officials urge residents to not leave barbecue coals near combustibles. Additionally, after a barbecue the coals should be watered down and placed in a metal container.

Fire officials also advise having a working smoke detector and taking time when turning back clocks for the end of daylight saving time Sunday to check and replace smoke detector batteries.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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