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Home sustains $200,000 in damage

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Firefighters halted the spread of a structure fire into the home’s back yard in the 400 block of North Fremont in the noon hour Tuesday. They were worried once the weeds caught on fire it could ha...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin/

POSTED July 26, 2017 12:02 a.m.

A home with more than 30 cats living in it in the 400 block of North Fremont Avenue caught fire at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday while the 54-year-old owner was taking a nap.
Manteca Fire officials said the blaze caused an estimated $200,000 in damage and killed 20 of the cats.
The home is located two homes south of Alameda Street on the east side of Fremont.
The resident of the home sat across the street beneath a tree and was consoled by a police chaplain and resource officer Mike Kelly concerned about her emotional state. They made sure she was contacted by a representative of the Red Cross giving her a place to spend the night.  She said she would rather have died than to see her cats perish.  Fire Captain Jeff Dennis found a surviving cat in the home and placed it in the woman’s arms after she had learned of the fate of most of her pets.
She said she was taking a nap in her bedroom when smoke woke her up, saying she ran for the phone and called 911 and then ran out the front door, fearing her cats had run under the bed for safety.  Firefighters resuscitated three of the cats, using a special animal oxygen mask successfully. Captain Jeff Dennis found a four-legged survivor and brought it out of the house and placed it in the woman’s arms.
When firemen first arrived on the scene and forced open a rear door, they said six cats flee out into the back yard, running for their lives.  Twenty-six cats were taken to a veterinary hospital and only six survived, Battalion Chief David Marques reported.
Some 20 firefighters from the Manteca and Lathrop-Manteca departments aggressively fought the blaze for 20 minutes. The blaze did major damage to the roof and kitchen areas in addition to smoke damage throughout the home.  Vent holes were cut into the roof in an attempt to control the spread of the blaze and release the built-up smoke.
Marques said he was especially concerned with weeds and discarded items in the back yard that could have caused a spread of the blaze to a wooden outbuilding and an aged back fence for fear it could have ignited neighboring structures beyond that fence.
Firefighters remained on the scene for some two hours for cleanup operations.
The fire remains under investigation and the cause has not been determined, Chief Marques said.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email

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