The Turlock Fire Department is investigating a fire of suspicious origin at an abandoned home frequented by transients.
The fire, which was reported around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, completely destroyed the home at 614 Eighth St.
Initially, the fire was reported as occurring in the 800 block of Eighth Street, which falls within the county’s jurisdiction, but it was actually a block north, within Turlock city limits.
Rolls of black smoke could be seen about 10 miles away from the fire that had flames shooting out the top and sides of the single-story house.
The Turlock Fire Department worked in concert with fire departments from Turlock Rural, Denair, Keyes and Mountain View. Turlock Irrigation District, Turlock Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, Pacific Gas and Electric and American Medical Response were also at the scene.
The home had been vacant for some time and was boarded up with posted no trespassing signs. Employees at the Foster Farms plant located across the street from the fire said transients frequently came in and out of the house and the owner would often come by and apologize for not being able to keep them out.
The point of origin is believed to have been at the back of the house, according to the fire department.
A small detached garage adjacent to the home also sustained major damage from the blaze. The estimated dollar loss for home and garage was approximately $100,000.
Fire crews were able to protect the neighboring homes from the flames.