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Illegal fireworks hit fire trucks with near misses to firefighters
Thursdays fire destroyed a garage, several vehicles, and caused extensive damage to a home. - photo by HIME ROMERO

A barrage of illegal fireworks set off by a house fire made several hits on a Manteca fire truck and narrowly missed firefighters as they were scrambling to get fire hoses in place at a Thursday evening house fire in the 1200 block of Crestwood Avenue.

Residents blocks away told of hearing explosions they first thought were gunshots.

Manteca Fire Battalion Chief Dave Marques said Engine 243 responded from the Louise Avenue station only a block away to find a two-story residential structure with heavy flames and heavy black smoke coming from the garage and living areas moving toward them.

Engine 243 deployed several hose streams to protect nearby homes after a quick search of the home was made in an effort to locate three children who were unaccounted for.  Fire crews were able to perform a complete search of the first and second floors and found no victims inside.  As the heavy water streams began to improve fire conditions, an offensive attack was taken with crews entering the structure to extinguish the fire, Chief Marques said.

Vertical ventilation was performed simultaneously with the fire attack to remove some of the smoke.  Within 90 minutes the majority of the fire had been extinguished and crews remained on the scene for several hours conducting salvage and overhaul duties, according to the chief.

Marques added that evidence indicated that the fire started in the garage and quickly spread to the attic of the first and second stories.  The aggressive fire ground operations were successful in preventing any major fire damage to the living areas of the home beyond smoke damage, he said.

The cause of the fire and contributing factors remain under investigation, he said.  Fire investigators were back at the scene Friday afternoon.