STOCKTON, California — Just before dawn, flames and smoke erupted at the Central Pallets yard and towered over a neighborhood on East Market Street near Wilson Way.

Firefighters from cities around Stockton joined in on the fire fight as flames threatened homes and nearby businesses.

Rosemary Giannecchini says she ran for her life.

"I got woke up to my cousin screaming at the top of her lungs, 'Rosemary its on fire, get out, get out!' I came out, and it was so huge and so big coming right at us," she said. "It was full force. I thought we were going to lose everything honestly."


Imran Khan lives directly across the street from the pallet yard. His home had it's front window from his dual pane blown out, and, inside, his blinds melted from the extreme heat.

A few composite roof tiles even melted in the form of ice sickles.

Just minutes before the fire started, he was awake saying prayers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

When he went back to sleep, it was his nephew who woke him up to get out.

"Never seen that kind of stuff... Twenty minutes or maybe five minutes if we were asleep or something, maybe we would be dead by now," Khan said.

This is the second major pallet fire in Stockton in less than a month.

Another massive one, nearly two years ago and very close to today's fire, destroyed one home and burned several more.

ABC10 asked Stockton Fire Battalion Chief Lane Healy if a serial arsonist may be on the loose after the recent fires.

"It would really be out of my line of expertise to comment on that. I'm just here to put them out," said Battalion Chief Healy.

Neighbors told ABC10 that they blame the fire on the large number of homeless that go up and down their streets and into the pallet yard itself.

"We got them setting fires in the alley way. It's constantly having problems with homeless starting fires," alleged Shellie Tucker, who lies close to the pallet yard. "What does the City do? You can see it all over social media. The City doesn't do nothing."

"They have all these diesel trucks full of these pallets against our fence. I mean they're putting our lives at risk. All these fires keep happening all the time. It needs to stop," says Ginnecchini.

We asked the city if there is anything they can do about the homeless issue in the neighborhood and complaints of fires.

In a text, City of Stockton spokesperson Connie Cochran responded by saying "We are working jointly with the county to address issues of homelessness."

When approached for an interview, no one with Central Pallets would comment.

WATCH MORE: Massive Fire in Stockton burns pallet yard | Raw