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Fire destroys vacant house near downtown Merced

Merced firefighters respond to a blaze that destroyed a vacant home near downtown Merced, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. The fire is the latest in a string of residential blazes in the Merced area.
Merced firefighters respond to a blaze that destroyed a vacant home near downtown Merced, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. The fire is the latest in a string of residential blazes in the Merced area. mmorgante@mercedsunstar.com

A fire tore through an unoccupied house near downtown Merced late Sunday, the latest in a string of residential fires in the area.

The fire was reported shortly before 8 p.m. at a dwelling on the alley between the 300 block of West 19th and West 18th streets, Merced City Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Horta said.

The 1,000-square-foot home was boarded up and believed to be vacant, he said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Three engines and a truck responded to the blaze, he said.

The fire is the fourth to occur in the Merced area in less than a week.

“We’ve had a number of fires with alley access in this part of town,” Horta said.

A Merced family was put out of their home on Friday after a fire spread to their property after starting at an unoccupied home next door.

On Wednesday, a fire damaged an apartment building in north Merced, displacing nearly 50 residents. That same day, a grass fire believed to have been sparked by a vehicle destroyed a home where authorities said about 100 marijuana plants had been growing in the backyard.

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