A fire that officials are calling suspicious destroyed a 3,800-square-foot, million-dollar home and its contents in the gated community of Via Cerioni on the west side of Madera. CalFire authorities are seeking information from the public on the circumstances of the blaze.
The home is reportedly owned by Pablo Aleman, 73, a one-time partner with Berry Construction and DMP Construction, which built many of the homes on the west side of Madera.
The homeowner was away at the time of the Aug. 18 fire, according to Battalion Chief Mike Surber, who responded to the blaze.
“Neighbors smelled smoke and heard crackling about 4 a.m. The fire started in a wall in the master bedroom. It appears the fire had been burning for several hours before that and the house was fully involved (in flames) when we got there. The homeowners were in Mexico on vacation at the time of the fire,” Surber said.
The home did not have automatic fire sprinklers and did not appear to have had a working fire alarm system, he said.
Fire crews were unable to save the structure and concentrated on preventing the spread of the fire to adjacent homes.
Neighbors to the east between Sunset Avenue and Howard Road awoke to find their cars and lawns peppered with large pieces of ash from the fire.
“We are investigating the fire as suspicious and are looking for more information (from the public) on the fire,” Surber said. “There were also two high-value vehicles, a Ranger Rover and a Porsche, missing from the garage, and the keys were in the house. The investigation is ongoing.”
Anyone with information on the fire is requested to call Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP. Crime Stoppers pays up to a $2,000 cash reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction in a crime.