Fire claimed the second Manteca home in a week shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday.
The loss was pegged at $315,000 for the home in the St. Francis Estates area west of Union Road and north of Louise Avenue.
Three fire departments — Manteca, Ripon Consolidated and Lathrop Manteca — and 22 personnel, fought the flames in the vacant corner residence in the 1300 block of Sterling Place where the roof eventually caved in onto the floor of the structure.
Firefighters responded to the address of the call and found no fire, rather the residence of the reporting party, who stated they could see the fire across from their home. Responding fire units quickly located the burning home – a single story residential structure with heavy smoke and fire coming from the attic and garage.
They initiated an exterior fire attack through the front door as neighbors informed them the house was a vacant building where parties had been held and homeless had been using it to apparently bed down inside. Battalion Chief Bill Canfield arrived on the scene and assumed command and declared the fire to be defensive in nature due to the level of fire involvement and a roof collapse.
A full callback of Manteca fire personnel was requested along with reserves and PG&E. A reverse hose line to the hydrant was established to supply water to engine 242. Engine 241 arrived on scene and was given the assignment of placing a master stream of water to Engine E242 to extinguish the roof and exposed attic fire. Other engines worked the side of the house to keep the fire from spreading to an adjacent home.
Chief Canfield said the fire was extinguished within 45 minutes with the collapsed interior structural members still smoldering. The Ripon Fire Department’s 100-foot ladder truck was requested to the fire to set up an aerial stream through the exposed roof to completely extinguish the ruble and debris due to the instability of the structure that did not allow for a safe entry into the home. Manteca’s ladder truck was out of service and not available due to scheduling.
Cause of the fire is under investigation, according to Chief Canfield. Neighbors said the house had been vacant for over a year.