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Grass fire ties up Bypass traffic

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Grass fire ties up Bypass traffic

Fire crews mop up the grass-fire scene at the north embankment of westbound 120 Bypass near Van Ryn Avenue.


POSTED September 29, 2009 4:22 a.m.

Quick action by Manteca and Lathrop-Manteca firefighters Monday averted what easily could have developed into a larger and more dangerous inferno along westbound 120 Bypass just behind Manteca Industrial Park.

Nearly two dozen fire personnel and five fire engines took nearly two hours to battle the fast-moving grass fire that threatened some of the structures at Industrial Park and a rental house at the Van Ryn Avenue, formerly Spreckels Road, located next to the highway overpass. The smoky conflagration, which began near the South Main Street overpass, literally was stopped at the back of the property outside the fence. The rental house is owned by Manteca businessman John Aretakis who said the renters are in the process of moving out.

The 120 Bypass remained open while the firefighters worked to extinguish the fire which started shortly before the commute-hour traffic at 5 p.m. However, one of the westbound lanes – the slow lane next to the shoulder of the road – had to be closed to allow the emergency crews to extinguish the fire.

“We closed the westbound No. 2 lane and worked mainly on that side. All eastbound traffic was left open,” said Battalion Chief Bob Davis of the Manteca Fire Department.

It is believed the fire started on the westbound shoulder of 120 behind the Nushake Roofing in the Industrial Park. From there, the fire was quickly whipped up by the strong wind, Davis said.

“From the shoulder, it jumped over to the center divider then the wind swept it all the way down to Van Ryn,” he said.

The firefighters quickly put out the fire along the fence line of the Industrial Park facing the highway.

The exact cause of the fire is not known at this time.

Five fire engines all together responded to the grass fire – three from the Manteca Fire Department and two from the Lathrop-Manteca Fire Protection District. The crew was headed by three fire chief officers from the Manteca Fire Department.

To contact Rose Albano Risso, e-mail or call (209) 249-3536.

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