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Three residents displaced in ‘suspicious’ house fires in Merced

Two Merced homes damaged in fire

Two homes sustained damage in a Sunday morning fire and multiple people were displaced. There were no injuries. Rob Parsons/rparsons@mercedsun-star.com
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Two homes sustained damage in a Sunday morning fire and multiple people were displaced. There were no injuries. Rob Parsons/rparsons@mercedsun-star.com

A suspicious fire damaged two homes Sunday morning in Merced, displacing three residents, authorities said.

Flames were reported around 10:30 a.m. at 2440 R St. The fire spread to a neighboring home in the 1000 block of West 25th Street, across from the Applegate Park Zoo. Three residents from the 25th Street home escaped without injuries, but will not be able to stay at the house, the Merced Fire Department reported.

Battalion Chief Jeremy Franklin said the fire started at the R Street location, which he described as “unoccupied” and possibly abandoned.

“It’s definitely suspicious,” Franklin said, “but in terms of a cause, it’s going to take the investigations team some time to determine that.” He said the cause of the fire most likely wouldn’t be determined until later in the week.

Damage estimates were unavailable Sunday, but Franklin said the R Street home is a “total loss.”

A total of 15 firefighters battled the flames at both homes for less than an hour before the fire was extinguished. Firefighters remained for several hours cleaning up and investigating the cause.

Names of the displaced residents were unavailable Sunday. Several people outside the 25th Street home afterward declined to comment.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Merced Fire Department at 209-385-6891 or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at 209-385-4725. Information also can be texted by dialing 847411 and including the word “Comvip” as the keyword. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.

Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482

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