By MIKE NORTH firstname.lastname@example.org The Merced Fire Department responded to a house fire on the 1000 block of Brookdale Drive early Friday morning.
The call came from a neighbor at 4:56 a.m., said Battalion Chief Shawn Henry. Firefighters had the fire under control by 5:48 a.m. The owner of the house, Emily Walley, wasn’t home at the time, and nobody was injured.
“This was a pretty severe fire,” Henry said. “We had fire coming out of several windows on our arrival.”
It’s still unknown how the fire started, he said. The fire department is investigating the cause.
The department will use an arson dog to rule out the possibility that any flammable liquids fueled the fire, Henry said. Most of the fire was coming from the back of the house when firefighter arrived on the scene.
“That’s why right now we’re kind of listing it as suspicious because we didn’t have an owner here; she’d been gone for a period of time,” he said. The house has been posted by the building department and is uninhabitable, Henry said.
The damage is estimated to be $100,000, said Chief Ken Mitten.
The fire caused a lot of damage, but didn’t threaten any nearby houses.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or email@example.com.