BARSTOW Fire gutted an apartment on the 600 block of East Virginia Way Wednesday afternoon.

A woman and two teenaged sons were home in the two-story apartment when the fire started escaped unharmed, but the apartment sustained about $60,000 in damages, Barstow Fire Protection District Division Chief Sal Corrao said.

Fire district officials listed the cause of the blaze as suspicious and are currently investigating.

Corrao said he determined the fire to be suspicious based on inconsistent stories from the occupants, none of whom admitted to knowing how it had started.

Jeanette Moon, one of the residents of the apartment, said she and her sons were cleaning the apartment in preparation to move out when the fire started. Moon said she was downstairs when one of her sons alerted her that there was a fire in an upstairs bedroom, and she went upstairs to find a couch and curtains burning.

Moon said she tried to put the fire out with buckets of water before it got out of hand.

She said she did not know what caused the fire. The apartment had electricity but no gas at the time, according to Barstow Fire Chief Darrell Jauss.

Fire officials got the call at about 1:30 p.m. Two engines from the Barstow district and one from the Marine Corps Logistics Base responded. Barstow Chief Darrell Jauss estimated it took about 15 minutes to get the flames under control.

Corrao said firefighters were able to save most of the occupants' belongings, which were in boxes downstairs.

Another apartment next door suffered minor smoke damage, and firefighters had to take out part of the ceiling to access the attic, Corrao said.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or