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Fire burns structure used by homeless
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A firefighter checks out the damage to the rear of the structure. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

A small residential structure — among a number of abandoned homes at the rear of 1185 North Main Street that the homeless use — burned Thursday at about 4 p.m. 

Fire units responded from Manteca and Lathrop to the blaze to the rear of the Moose Lodge.  The property was once owned by the colorful western auctioneer Lucky Baldwin who once resided in one of the homes at a time when Lido’s Farmers Table restaurant was located at the front of the property.

Signs of transients living in the area were strewn around with bicycle frames and two small sheds with discarded clothing and food remnants.  Flames shot out the windows and through the roof as firemen worked to get it under control.  Tree branches above the house were scorched by the flames that reached some 15 to 20 feet into the air.  One of the greatest challenges was the floor starting to give way as firefighters entered the house. 

A charred frying pan had been left atop a tree stump near one of the sheds less than 15 feet from the burned structure.  A main water line had been run down the dirt driveway from a hydrant on the side of North Main Street to feed the one engine and its lines into the house.  Firemen wore oxygen tank masks when they entered the structure to make sure no one had been trapped inside.

Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd and Battalion Chief Chris Jelinek had also responded to the scene.  The fire is under investigation in an effort to learn how it started and who may have been responsible.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email