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Bradenton fire leaves 2 families homeless

MANATEE -- A fire at a Bradenton duplex Monday afternoon left two families homeless, according to Southern Manatee Fire Rescue.

The fire was reported at 12:53 p.m. at a duplex in the 4000 block of Ninth Street East, and firefighters had the blaze under control within seven minutes -- but not before it damaged about half the structure. Batallion Chief Rick Blanco estimated the damage at about $50,000.

No one was hurt.

Firefighters were urging motorists to stay away from the area, as the busy stretch of Ninth Street East remained closed to traffic as of 2 p.m.

A resident of the half of the duplex where the fire started, said the blaze started in the clothes dryer. Fire officials, however, were not ready to confirm that.

"It was close to the laundry room, but until we finish our investigation we aren't able to tell exactly what happened, " Blanco said.

Three fire engines and 12 firefighters responded to the blaze.

Blanco said the American Red Cross would be responding this afternoon to affect the displaced families.