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Blaze near fire station destroys home & two vehicles

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A sedan that had been in the garage and a van that was parked in the driveway were total losses after being torched by fireworks stored in the garage in the 1200 block of Crestwood Avenue Thursday ...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED August 29, 2014 1:49 a.m.

Explosions and shooting fireworks raised additional havoc Thursday as a fire swept through a two-story home in the 1200 block of Crestwood Avenue just two blocks from the Louise Avenue fire station.

Neighbors and passersbys told of explosions and fireworks shooting from the home’s garage in a variety of colors followed by fire that engulfed the entire home at about 6 p.m. Losses were pegged at $300,000.

Fire units responded from Manteca City with mutual aid from Lathrop-Manteca, Tracy and Ripon Consolidated fire departments bringing 25 personnel.

Firefighters arrived to find black smoke coming from the home and fireworks going off from inside the garage and shooting across the street.  The plumes of smoke could be seen as far away as Woodward Park. Firemen were told there were possibly three children from ages 7 to 18 who could be inside a second floor bedroom.  

Battalion Chief Kyle Shipperd said his men could only be in a defensive mode in the two-alarm call for the first 25 to 30 minutes because of the thick smoke. They did find family pets trapped inside while all family members had escaped.

Firefighter Michael Horabuena was successful in finding a small 12-year-old Chihuahua hiding between two couches on the ground floor. Horabuena exited the home clutching the dog in his arms before handing it over to its owner.  Two other dogs fled, running down the street with burns on their feet and with small burns to their coats.  One dog was hit by a car when it rounded a corner to the north in the neighborhood.  They were both transported by family members to a Manteca veterinary hospital for treatment.  Another firefighter located keys to another family car parked down the street and took them to the resident.

Six girls had been walking down the street going to a friend’s house when they witnessed the fire break out.  One had her tablet with her and filmed the beginning of the fire as the first engine arrived on the scene.  

The father of the family said he and his wife had gone to a Chinese Restaurant on North Main Street shortly before the fire erupted.  At that point everything was OK, he said. He had asked his kids if they wanted to go with them to dinner but they told him they had already eaten.  Shortly after sitting down he received a frantic phone call that his house was on fire, he told firemen.

He said he rushed to the scene not knowing where any of the children were as well as the location or welfare of his family pets.  

One family member said he didn’t believe the fireworks were the cause of the fire, suggesting that it had to be electrical in nature from the other side of the garage near a work bench where a sedan was parked.  Both that car and a van in the driveway were destroyed in the blaze.

The loss to the structure was estimated at $250,000 by investigators with another $50,000 loss to the contents of the home.  Red Cross workers were en route to the scene to analyze the situation of the residents to determine how they could help with clothing and with a place to stay for the next few days.

Firefighters flooded the scene with lights for much of the evening as they continued with their cleanup efforts.

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