A large and highly visible fire near Highway 99 kept Manteca firefighters busy for several hours Thursday night and into Friday morning.
Manteca firefighters were dispatched to an abandoned commercial warehouse on Main Street just south of Lathrop Road and west of Highway 99 about 11:15 p.m. Thursday.
The building, which previously was used as an appliance store, had thick, black smoke and heavy flames coming from the front and sides, said Battalion Chief Kyle Shipherd.
About 15 minutes after firefighters arrived, the roof collapsed. As additional engines arrived, more hose lines were pulled and the fire was attacked from multiple sides, Shipherd said.
Two ladder trucks were requested from neighboring fire departments to allow access to the fire from above. The ladder trucks applied water through the roof for about an hour until the blaze was under control.
Firefighters were on scene until 3 a.m. performing salvage and overhaul operations, Shipherd said.
The fire caused an estimated $500,000 in damage. The cause was deemed suspicious.
Shipherd said it was the third fire in a month at a vacant building in Manteca that appeared to be set intentionally. The Fire Department is investigating a possible link among the fires, which all started about the same time of night, he said.