A Merced County home was gutted by fire Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.
The fire at a home near Highway 140 on the outskirts of Merced threatened several other homes nearby but was contained to the 1,000 square-foot residence and nobody was injured, Merced County Cal Fire Battalion Chief Rich Bohn said.
Still, neighbors watered around their homes with hoses as county crews battled the fire, saying the blaze reminded them of another fire that destroyed four homes years ago.
Firefighters responded to reports of a house on fire just before 4 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Kibby Road and Highway 140, Bohn said. When firefighters arrived, they saw the house in the 500 block of Kibby Road fully engulfed with flames, and the occupants whom had evacuated themselves.
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The home sustained about $80,000 in damage, Bohn said, adding that one person, either an occupant or a passerby, suffered minor smoke inhalation injuries.
Nearby neighbors used a hose to water the ground around a previously burned out skeleton structure standing just north of the home on fire.
"I was lounging at my mom's house and like I suddenly look out the window and I see black smoke blowing up," said Mario Salas.
Salas said a similar fire engulfed the neighborhood years ago.
That fire, on May 28, 2014, destroyed four homes and displaced 15 people, according to Sun-Star archives. No one was injured, but two more homes received damage in that fire.
Neighbors on Wednesday pointed out several charred structures that were still standing from the 2014 fire.
"The fire is still ... being suppressed, and the investigation will be ongoing," Bohn said.