A closed car wash where homeless have been living in the 1800 block of East Yosemite Avenue adjacent to the El Rancho Mobile Home Park sustained more than $150,000 in damages during an early Wednesday morning fire.
The fire reported at 11:31 a.m. after heavy black smoke was visible from Yosemite Avenue prompted the response of 10 various fire units and 18 firefighters from both the City of Manteca Fire Department as well as the Lathrop Manteca Fire District.
By the time firefighters arrived there were visible flames along with heavy black smoke coming from the rear of the building. Firefighters searched the masonry building to make sure no people were located inside. The fire was knocked down in 30 minutes with cleanup taking another hour.
Manteca Fire Battalion Chief Dave Marques noted the firefighting effort was hampered by the difficulty of engine access.
The car was has been closed and non-functional for several months although the mechanical infrastructure was still in place.
Several individuals were seen fleeing from the area as firefighters arrived. One individual was pointed out by bystanders as living in the structure and leaving it just before the fire broke out. A request was made for Manteca Police to detain the noted individual who was able to flee the scene.
Marques indicated the cause of the fire is suspicious but undetermined at this time.