The use of a fireplace to heat a 5,400-square-foot home on Southland Road, west of North Cottage Avenue, Friday morning caused a $500,000 loss to the structure and its contents.
The 7:44 a.m. fire call brought engines from Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department and Manteca City Fire along with two water tenders, including one from Ripon Consolidated Fire, to fight the blaze. Fire companies arrived at the scene and had to make access through a locked gate on the street that led to the home surrounded by a concrete block wall.
Firefighters reported finding heavy fire in the main living area and the attic of the house that contained all the utility lines in an upper mechanical floor that serviced the home. Fire officials said they were told by the property owner that he was using the fireplace to heat the home because the power and the utilities had been cut to the home with its four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
One adult and one juvenile were in the house when the fire broke out, firefighters said. The fire appeared to have burned through the chimney and spread to other combustibles in the mechanical attic area, according to the report.
Residents in Manteca to the south said they first saw light colored smoke billowing into the sky before it turned black suggesting a serious blaze to the north of their homes.
The adult and the juvenile were reportedly asleep in the home before the fire erupted when the juvenile awoke smelling smoke and immediately alerted the adult. The two removed a car from the garage and a pet before asking a neighbor to call 911. There were no working smoke detectors in the home and the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District is using the incident to remind residents to make sure they have a working smoke detector installed. Both residents escaped the house with no reported injuries, firefighters said.