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Drug house destroyed by arson

POSTED November 6, 2009 6:24 p.m.
A fire that raced through a home that had been the site of a drug raid the week before has been declared an arson.
“Based upon a detailed physical examination of the fire scene, their determination is that the fire was intentionally set,” Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Hugo Patino Jr. said of the investigation.
The scene of the fire was at 660 El Vista Ave., in Modesto. The house was owned by the City of Modesto and on Oct. 26 an investigation by the Modesto Police Department revealed the residence was being used for a large-scale marijuana growing operation. More than 560 marijuana plants were seized during a search of the house with an estimated street value of $1 million, said Modesto Police Sgt. Brian Findlen.
Four men were arrested during the search.
The fire was reported around 9 p.m. Tuesday. Within minutes the three-story home was fully engulfed with smoke and flames, Patino said.
The investigation into the cause of the fire showed burn patterns that indicated the fire was started inside the house and that there were multiple ignition sites, Patino said.
The Modesto Fire Department is asking anyone with information on the fire to call 491-5722.

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