An explosion before 2 a.m. Wednesday alerted residents in the 1900 block of Sparrow Hawk Street to a fire in a neighbor’s white van parked at curbside in the neighborhood on the southeast quadrant of the 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange.
One witness said he believed the explosion was a pipe bomb. The witness said he was outside minutes earlier having a smoke when he noticed a white pickup truck hanging around in the area near the van. He recalled that shortly after going back into his home he heard a loud boom. Looking back outside he said a fire was engulfing the interior of the van and that the pickup truck he had seen earlier was leaving the scene at a high rate of speed.
He added there was also a silver sedan driving away from the fire traveling in the opposite direction of the pickup that he saw as he walked out his front door.
Another witness noted there had been what appeared to be a gang fight two weeks ago across from where the van was parked on Sparrow Hawk with the participants shouting gang slurs. One of the individuals broke away from the fight and retrieved a gun from a nearby bush, he said.
The Manteca Fire Department reported responding to the fire and putting it out, but the actual cause was unclear. The Manteca Police Department said the fire was suspicious in nature but they could not clarify if a pipe bomb was the cause, adding that there were no suspects at this time.
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 823-4636.