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Officials don't know what sparked blaze

A fire that destroyed the Fair Mart Market at 14th and D streets on Saturday night remains under investigation, authorities reported Sunday. The fire likely caused damage "in the half million dollar range at least," Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Johansen said. Investigators had not determined the fire's cause Sunday.

CHP officer injured in traffic mishap

A California Highway Patrol officer sustained moderate injuries after he and his partner failed to slow for an intersection in Patterson, the CHP reported. On Sunday about 5:10 a.m., officer S. McFarlane of Turlock was driving north on Rogers Road with his partner, officer K. Kusick of Oakdale. At Highway 33, McFarlane lost control of his 2007 Ford and ended up on the east shoulder of the highway. The car struck the railroad tracks, then hit a concrete irrigation control box north of Rogers, according to the CHP. Kusick sustained moderate injuries but had been released from the hospital by Sunday afternoon. McFarlane was not injured. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Man held in arson of neighbor's house

A Valley Springs man is being held on $90,000 bail after reportedly setting his neighbor's house on fire, then trying to get paid for "relieving the homeowner of the financial obligation," according to the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department. On Jan. 25, investigators went to 3328 Lazer Court, about 10 miles west of San Andreas, to investigate a suspicious fire that destroyed a home that had been for sale. Three days later, detectives said they learned that David Alan Thomas tried to extort money from the victim and that Thomas viewed the arson as a favor. Deputies arrested Thomas during a traffic stop on Highway 26 near Silver Rapids Road. He was arrested on suspicion of arson and attempted extortion, the Sheriff's Department reported.

Yesteryears

25 YEARS AGO: Residents of the Stanislaus County community of Hughson were finally getting the chance to hook up to cable television. Via Satellite Inc. of Livingston, which was awarded Hughson's cable contract franchise, had a series of setbacks that delayed Hughson's access to cable.

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