Four New Manteca Homes, Still Under Construction, Burn in Early Morning Fire

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MANTECA -- Firefighters responded to a large fire Thursday morning near Memorial Lane and Heartland Drive in Manteca, where four homes, still under construction, were burning.

"We had flames in the 30-40 foot range and black smoke visible down in Modesto," Manteca Fire Marshall Lantz Rey said.

Rey says by the time crews arrived, around 5:30 a.m., the fire was spreading down the block in a brand new Manteca subdivision.

"If it would have gotten another house or two we probably would have lost the remainder of the block," Rey told FOX40.

One home burned down, and the other three were gutted. Each was considered a total loss.

A fifth home was threatened but firefighters were able to save it.

No injuries were reported following the blaze.

Investigators were back at the scene Thursday afternoon, working to determine the cause.

"We've ruled out, so far through the process, natural causes. No lightening or things like that. There's was no utilities in any of these homes, so no gas, no electric," Rey said.

Rey says the early morning fire is suspicious.

"We have requested additional resources from Cal Fire and ATF and we will be coordinating with them for the investigation," Rey said.

Ten days earlier, just blocks away in the same new subdivision, Manteca fire officials say an arsonist burned two model homes on East Woodward Avenue.

"This one we haven't made that connection yet and we're not jumping to that conclusion," Rey told FOX40. "We're going to work the process."

The builder, D.R. Horton, was unavailable for comment Thursday.

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