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The Madera Tribune

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Fire destroys vacant home on Ellis Street

May 18, 2019

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The burnt remains of a home that once sat on the corner of Ellis Street and Country Club Drive. Ellis Street was closed for several hours as fire crews battled the massive blaze Tuesday night.

A suspicious fire lit up the night sky as it destroyed a 2,800-square-foot vacant home and shop building on the corner of Ellis Street and Country Club Drive Tuesday night, according to CalFire authorities. Ellis Street was closed for several hours as fire crews battled the massive blaze. 


Madera Battalion Chief Jim Forga said, “We had four or five witnesses that saw homeless people in the immediate area and running from the scene. This was the third or fourth fire at this property this month. The power was off. It was an older wood structure with a wooden shake roof and (it was) fully involved when we got there. We initially made entry but had little choice but to go defensive mode ...” Forga said. 


The property owner said the longtime family home had been vacant and boarded up for about 8 years and they had put up a chain link fence a year or two ago to try and keep the homeless out. But the fence had been repeatedly cut and the older, sprawling family Spanish ranch style home known for its stucco arches had been badly damaged by the many persistent trespassers and squatters over the years.


Forga said the home and shop building were a total loss. Three fire engines, two water tenders, and numerous volunteers fought the fire. No injuries were reported.


“We are also looking for any other information from the public on this or on any suspicious fire.” Forga said.


Crime Stoppers pays up to a $2,000 cash reward for anonymous information leading to an arrest and a conviction in any crime.  Call 498-STOP.

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