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Suspicious fires destroys 2 homes under construction
fires construction
Manteca Fire crews fought a fire Monday morning that destroyed two homes under construction in the southwest portion of the city.

Two homes under construction in The Vintage neighborhood in southwest Manteca were destroyed in a predawn fire on Monday.

Manteca Fire indicated that shortly after the first engine arrived to the fire reported at 4:50 a.m. that flames from one house under construction spread to an adjoining home being built. The two homes being built were just south of Woodward Avenue and fronted Veterans Street east of the Windward Pacific Builders Homes models. Black smoke was visible from the 120 Bypass. 

The loss was pegged at $450,000 in the fire that took an hour and 10 minutes to extinguish and another 90 minutes for clean-up operations.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The homes in the new neighborhood southwest of the Woodward Avenue and Atherton Drive intersection where construction of the city’s fire station will start in the next several week range have starting prices from $449,000 to $509,900.

The fire came just 14 months after the most destructive fire in nearly 20 years in Manteca in terms of dollar loss occurred to the 154-unit Tesoro Apartments when they were under construction at Van Ryn Avenue and Woodward Avenue. The loss in that fire was in excess of $4 million. That fire was considered to be arson.

Two months prior to the apartment complex fire in April of 2018 two teens trashed a pair of homes being readied for buyers in the Atherton Homes development east of Pillsbury Road and south of Woodward Avenue. The Atherton neighborhood is immediately west of The Vintage neighborhood were the fire Monday destroyed the two homes under construction.

Manteca Police arrested two 15-year-old teens for the February 2018 vandalism that caused over $180,000 worth of damage to the two homes that each sold for more than $400,000. The homes were in the 2500 block of Juliana Way and 1300 block of Mirassou Drive.

One home had windows broken out, cabinet doors ripped off, and chandeliers torn from the ceilings. The carpet in one home was set on fire. Drawers in the kitchen were pulled off their sliders and thrown through the rear windows breaking out 13 windows.  

A large refrigerator in one of the kitchens had its door sprung and warped so bad that it wouldn’t close and had to be replaced.  Smaller hanging chandeliers over the kitchen island were believed to have been broken out by the wooden pole. A six-foot diameter ceiling fan in the home was also damaged beyond repair.   

The fire alerted the alarm company and neighbors who called 911. Police responded setting up a perimeter of officers around the new residential area.

One of the youths got away but the second was apprehended in a nearby almond orchard.

The second youth was later located at his home nearby. Manteca Police were able to track down the youth after the teens had reportedly charred the end of a 6-foot wooden closet pole from the flames of a dining room carpet fire they had allegedly set and had written their address into the carpet.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email