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Attic fire leaves couple homeless
Four departments respond to blaze
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Ripon firefighters target burning shingles on a Hawes Avenue home just south of Milgeo Avenue in a Spring Creek neighborhood. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — An attic fire left a Ripon couple homeless shortly before 2 p.m. Friday in an exclusive neighborhood near the Spring Creek Country Club.

Paul Valencia – a retired Bay Area battalion chief – and his wife Laura were in their home in the 800 block of Hawes Avenue when they noticed smoke coming from the attic and called firemen.

Engines responded from Ripon, Manteca, Salida and Lathrop-Manteca departments filling the street with firefighters just south of Milgeo Avenue with flames leaping into the air.  They were focused on saving the home as well as protecting the neighboring structures.

The peaked roof of the main structure of the home caved in as fire kept eating up through the wood shingles on the garage. The entire garage was also ablaze.  

The Valencias stood with a few neighbors in front of a home across the street where they watched firemen attempting to save their home and their possessions.

Ripon Fire Department spokesman Joel Castro said he couldn’t offer a loss estimate as of the late afternoon, because much of the interior hadn’t been damaged by the blaze. He has to wait for a full investigation of the home fire.
He added that it appeared the source was probably in the attic above the main living quarters of the residence where the entire roof had been burned away.

After the flames were beat down firemen were quick to enter a front office by breaking through its window to bring out valuables from the Valencia’s office – drawers, a high back desk chair, cases and a file cabinet placing items on the lawn.

Valencia brought up a pickup truck, and with the help of neighbors, loaded his most important possessions that firefighters salvaged and loaded them.