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center appliance fire
Flames and extreme heat hampered firefighters in another suspicious fire shortly before midnight Thursday at the recently vacated 20,000 square foot Center Appliance offices and warehouse. - photo by Photo Courtesy of Manteca Ambulance

The recently vacated 20,000 square foot Center Appliance sales offices and warehouse in the 2000 block of North Main Street, just south of Lathrop Road, suffered $505,000 in losses shortly before midnight Thursday.

Firefighters have battled several other arson fires in Manteca during the past month adding to even more for the year.

 Battalion Chief Kyle Shipherd said eight fire units, 24 career firefighters and four reserves were called to the scene to find the building fully engulfed in flame with heavy black smoke.

Portions of the roof began to collapse after 10 minutes into fighting the blaze.  After 15 minutes firefighters witnessed a full roof collapse and they were all pulled back from the building for their safety.

Two 100-foot aerial ladders were called to the scene in a  mutual-aid request from Ripon Consolidated Fire District and from Sharp Depot.  Manteca’s 100-foot ladder had been “browned out” on Thursday as part of the city’s budget downturn.  Those ladder trucks poured 8,000 to 10,000 gallons of water on the fire per minute for an hour until the fire was controlled.

Chief Shipherd said the building was known to be frequented by transients, many of whom had been chased out by Sheriff’s deputies in recent weeks.