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Another Manteca fire started by homeless

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POSTED December 12, 2017 1:07 a.m.

Cold weather is here which means the fire season is starting in Manteca.
Homeless individuals in years past have had a nasty habit of starting fires to stay warm that get out of control in vacant or abandoned buildings they break into to seek shelter.
The latest fire took place in the 600 block of North Lincoln Avenue shortly after noon Monday.
A homeless woman in her mid-30s had to be rescued by the Manteca Fire Department after a fire was started on the second floor of a shuttered home that spread to the carpet and started spewing smoke out of the home. She managed to get out onto the roof over the front porch where Fire Captain Keith Scott said firefighter Andrew Sammet took a ladder from the fire truck and guided the woman off the roof.
It is the latest fire in the cluster of homes that had been boarded and fenced off and repeatedly breached by the homeless and others. The homes are waiting to be razed as part of a planned townhouse development.
Last summer a home several blocks away that had been abandoned and secured was broken into by the homeless that started a fire in the early morning hours that destroyed the entire structure.
In that case, neighbors woke up in time to call 9-1-1 allowing Manteca firefighters to stop the fire from spreading to nearby homes.
The list of fires believed to have been started by the homeless is long and growing.
The city was finally able to get the small house that once was a used car sales office at Lincoln and Yosemite avenues in downtown Manteca torn down after three fires were started there over the years either by homeless trying to stay warm or to cook food. Four blocks away the biggest eye sore in downtown — the two-story Sycamore Arms apartments — was created more than 25 months ago when homeless or vandals started a fire there after breaking in an commandeering it as a flop house.
Over the years there have been a half dozen fires started by the homeless in vacant structures that have since been torn down. The homeless are believed culpable in burning down a meat processing building that was in the process of being sold on West Yosemite Avenue next to Cabral Motors.
They also started numerous fires at the home on Union Road down the street from the fire station that has since been razed to make way for an Islamic school.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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