An electrical malfunction may have caused a fire that gutted a home Friday across the street from Hilmar High School, witnesses and fire officials said.
Merced County Fire received reports of a fire at a home in the 7700 block of Lander Avenue at about 3:15 p.m. Friday, Battalion Chief Mike Surber said.
One fire engine was on scene within two minutes and firefighters noted heavy fire and smoke coming from the kitchen and living room area. They knocked down the fire within five minutes, Surber said.
"The house did sustain major fire damage throughout those two rooms and extensive smoke damage through the rest of the house," Surber said, noting that occupants inside escaped the home with no reported injuries.
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The fire appeared to have been caused by an electrical malfunction, possibly an appliance, Surber said.
Witnesses watching the firefighters wrap up after extinguishing the blaze said the occupants of the home reported the fire started through a television malfunction.
Surber said the cause was under investigation.