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Closed closet door slows fire’s spread
LM house fire
This home in East Lathrop – the site of the first structure fire of 2021 inside of Lathrop’s city limits on Saturday night – suffered damage to only one upstairs bedroom.

A closed door in a master bedroom’s walk-in closet may have saved a Lathrop family from losing their home.

According to Lathrop Manteca Division Chief Larry Madoski, the initial fire was discovered in a home in east Lathrop on Saturday night in the walk-in closet in the master bedroom upstairs and the fire burned through the closed door and out into the master bedroom.

Because the door was closed, Madoski said, it likely limited the damage to the rest of the structure and possibly prevented the fire from spreading throughout the home.

The cause of the fire – the first structure fire in the City of Lathrop in 2021 – is still under investigation.

“There’s a valuable lesson here,” said Madoski. “Because that door was closed it limited the spread of the fire and likely drastically cut down on the smoke damage.”

According to Madoski, firefighters employed a “transitional attack” to stop the fire from spreading to other rooms inside of the home or up into the attic or eaves where it could have easily spread – a technique that applies water from the outside of the house while an internal hose is advanced, and the lines are then switched when firefighters are in position to extinguish the blaze from inside the house.

The technique, which is relatively new concept in fire science, works by cooling the internal temperature of the room during a critical period of time in which firefighters mobilize and get into position to attack the fire.

While the initial call had firefighters preparing for a rescue inside of the house, responding units learned upon arriving that all persons living at the home were accounted for which allowed them to focus on extinguishing the blaze as quickly and safely as possible.

Additional help from a mutual aid response engine from the City of Manteca also played a part in limiting the damage to the home.

Last year Lathrop Manteca responded to 90 calls for a structure fire – a 30 percent increase from the 69 structure fires in the 2019 calendar year.

 To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.