A fire fueled by wind and exploding propane tanks destroyed a home between Lodi and Lockeford on Wednesday afternoon.
No one was injured in the blaze, which burned a home owned by a retired fire chief and his wife.
At 3:30 p.m., crews from the Mokelumne Fire District responded to a structure fire at 16696 Fox Road, south of Highway 12 and west of Highway 88. The back of the house and an incomplete addition were fully engulfed when crews arrived.
Firefighters from four agencies immediately began battling the flames as propane tanks from an outdoor stove erupted.
The flames then moved through the rest of the house and a large tree on the property.
According to neighbors, the homeowners had left the home five minutes before the blaze began.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said homeowner Toni Miller, who has lived in the house with her husband, retired Mokelumne Fire District Chief Larry Miller, since 1970.
“That’s everything we own,” she said.
A secondary fire, believed to be caused by embers carried by wind, burned about five acres southeast of the house but was quickly contained.
Mokelumne Fire District Chief Mike Kirkle said at the scene that the cause of the fire was unknown, but county fire investigators would begin their investigation as soon as it was safe to enter the structure.
Six months ago, a barn behind the house was destroyed by a suspected electrical fire.
Contact Chief Photographer Dan Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.