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House Fire on Critter Creek Lane - photo Gina Clugston

Investigation Into Suspicious House Fire In Oakhurst

OAKHURST – Cal Fire is investigating a structure fire that started in an unoccupied home in Oakhurst this morning.

Just before 8 a.m., crews were called out to a house fire near the end of Critter Creek Lane off John West Road.

The first unit at scene reported smoke coming from both levels of the two-story home in the 50500 block of Critter Creek. The steep, narrow driveway required most engines to stage along the road.

The incident commander immediately requested that an investigator be sent to the location.

According to neighbors, they had been alerted to activity outside their home at about 6 a.m. when their dog began to bark. With recent bear activity in the area, they assumed the ursine marauder may have returned.

However, upon exiting their home, they discovered what they described as a very intoxicated, belligerent man outside, screaming obscenities and threats, and they called for a deputy to come out. The man had left by the time law enforcement arrived, but the residents said they could hear him still yelling from farther away in the meantime.

Just before 8 a.m., those same neighbors saw smoke at a home across the draw and called 911. They say the house is owned by out-of-towners who have been remodeling and had just installed new floors and purchased new furniture for the home.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the structure and prevent it spreading to surrounding homes or vegetation, though the home did suffer significant damage.

Sheriff’s deputies also responded to the scene.

It is not known whether the trespasser had anything to do with starting the fire. The cause is under investigation.

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