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PICKUP SNAPS POLE, HOUSE BURNS

Accident triggers electrical surge that destroys house

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PICKUP SNAPS POLE, HOUSE BURNS

A Manteca firefighter runs toward a home on South Airport Way as flames leap out the windows and front door.

Glenn Kahl/The Bulletin/


POSTED April 14, 2017 1:21 a.m.

A domino effect led to a home being destroyed by fire shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday after a pickup truck snapped a power pole in two, sending live wires to the ground on South Airport Way at Wawona Street and triggering a power surge into the home’s household wiring across the street triggering the fire.
The truck was driven by a 44-year-old Tracy woman who was reportedly unhurt in the downing of the power pole that also caused another pole to the east to lean some 30 degrees.
The crash also cut power to other homes and nearby stores. Costco shoppers reported the store’s power being shut down at the time of the crash with employees switching to emergency generators.
The wires throughout the home were fried, said Manteca Fire Battalion Chief Dave Marques.  It was that surge that caused the fire to erupt out the front windows of the home, he added. Firefighters cut through the roof to allow smoke to escape from the attic and to check for fire extensions. They declared the home a total loss.
Firefighters were some 200 feet north on Airport Way investigating the snapped off pole and the high tension lines that had fallen across the roadway calling for police response to direct traffic because vehicles had been running over those lines.  They then got a 911 call about the structure fire just south of their location.  Firefighters in yellow turnout coats were seen running toward the house as black smoke and fire belched out the front windows.  They were concerned someone was still in the structure. At the same time fire engines were redirecting their focus on the burning home. 
There was one older woman who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation but she wasn’t transported to the hospital.  Medics stayed with her on an ambulance gurney behind the home and finally observed that she was going to be alright and wasn’t in need of further treatment.
Police suspected the roadway would be closed for at least eight hours or even possibly through the night while the power lines were restrung and the two poles replaced by PG&E workers. CERT volunteers responded to the scene to relieve the regular officers who had been directing traffic.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email gkahl@mantecabulletin.com.

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