Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about 15 minutes after responding to a 3:47 p.m. call about the incident, Patterson Fire Chief Steve Hall said. The cause of the fire was still undetermined as of 5 p.m.
The fire appeared to do extensive damage to the upper story of the two-story home, Hall said, adding that more details would become available following an investigation.
The house had been vacant since Nov. 27, 2011, when a garage fire caused $100,000 worth of structural damage and destroyed $25,000 worth of contents, forcing 10 inhabitants to evacuate. While the cause of that previous blaze was officially undetermined, investigators at that time did not rule out “smoking materials,” including tobacco as contributors.
No one was inside the house when the home caught fire on Monday, though neighbor Lucy Arteaga said she had seen someone who had been renovating the home leave about 20 minutes before the incident.
Several neighbors, including the Arteagas, said the home had attracted vandals in recent months.
A couple of 14-year-old youths who live in the neighborhood — one who lives on Shasta Creek Court and another who lives on Henley Parkway — said they had seen people jumping the backyard fence of the home and throwing rocks at the structure. The home’s back yard is immediately west of a walkway that runs behind Creekside Middle School, and both the youths said they recognized the culprits as their peers.
Luis Arteaga said he had looked inside the house and had seen trash on the floor after a neighbor on nearby Sutter Creek Court had advised him that it sustained problems with vandalism. It appeared an air conditioning unit also had been stolen from the house, he said.
Arteaga said he would not mind seeing the home demolished, noting that his family has been trying to sell their home next door, and the adjacent structure was not helping matters.
“It’s kind of an eyesore,” Luis Arteaga said.
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