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Custom home burns north of Oakdale on River Road

Oakdale home, former wedding venue, burns

A large, custom home on River Road north of Oakdale, CA, burned Feb. 27, 2017. Likely started by an electrical problem in the attic, firefighters arrived to find the home in flames and the roof collapsing. Video footage by the Stanislaus Consolida
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A large, custom home on River Road north of Oakdale, CA, burned Feb. 27, 2017. Likely started by an electrical problem in the attic, firefighters arrived to find the home in flames and the roof collapsing. Video footage by the Stanislaus Consolida

A large custom home just north of Oakdale was destroyed by fire Monday. Neighbors said the expansive, tudor-style home had once been a wedding venue.

“It used to be very beautiful,” said Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Eric DeHart, standing in the curving, statuary-lined drive in the 7100 block of River Road.

Firefighters were called in just after noon, finding the home engulfed in flames and the roof already collapsing, said district spokeswoman Carissa Higginbotham.

Both homeowners were home, but there were no injuries, DeHart said.

The fire likely started in attic electrical connections and burned for some time before the home’s occupants saw an orange glow through a ceiling vent and called 911, said Dave Hutchinson, manager of the Stanislaus County Fire Investigations Unit.

“We saved a lot of their belongings. We mounted a very aggressive salvage operation,” DeHart said, as crews walked between tarp-covered furnishings in the yard.

Engines and crews from Modesto, Escalon, Salida, Farmington and Ceres joined the effort, with Ceres Fire Department manning Stanislaus Consolidated stations while their engines fought the fire, DeHart said. About a dozen emergency vehicles were on scene at the height of the fire.

“It was a hot fire. We could hear this incredible fire crackling,” said neighbor Jim Lawrence. Lawrence said the home had once been a wedding venue and before that a prior owner kept a large collection of vintage Mustang sports cars.

The 4,720-square-foot home had four bedrooms and four bathrooms. DeHart gave a preliminary estimate of loss of $880,000.

Nan Austin: 209-578-2339, @NanAustin

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