Crime

Merced fire that damages about 14 homes treated as suspicious, fire chief says

Merced CA fire threatens about 14 homes, chief says

A fire that burned along the BNSF Railroad tracks in Merced damaged the property on about 14 homes on Tuesday, July 16,2019, according to a battalion chief. Merced police are investigating the fire as suspicious.
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A fire that burned along the BNSF Railroad tracks in Merced damaged the property on about 14 homes on Tuesday, July 16,2019, according to a battalion chief. Merced police are investigating the fire as suspicious.

A fire that burned along the BNSF Railroad tracks in Merced damaged the property on about 14 homes on Tuesday.

The fire was reported just before 5 p.m. Tuesday near the tracks between Ash and Oak avenues, according to Merced City Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Franklin.

The wind pushed the flames along the tracks down to Keely Avenue, he said. The count could change, but the initial tally showed 14 homes were damaged.

“They were all outbuildings and fences,” he said. “No livable structures were damaged.”

One man reported smoke inhalation from trying to fight the flames with a garden hose, Franklin said. He was treated at the scene.

Neighbors said they saw a man and woman filming flames and laughing in the area.

Franklin said Merced police would be investigating the fire as suspicious.

Merced Police Capt. Joe Weiss said police are treating the fire as a possible arson but have not made any arrests. A man and woman detained briefly near the fire were determined to not be involved, he said.

Four engines, one truck and one Calfire truck responded. Two chiefs and 19 firefighters were on scene, he said.

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