Authorities are investigating a series of suspicious fires in Merced

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One of the fires was recorded by firefighters on Sunday night. (KFSN)

A vacant home at 14th and P Streets is one of two homes destroyed this weekend. Firefighters are now trying to figure out exactly how the fires started, and who may be to blame.

Intense flames and stifling smoke shot out of this vacant home Sunday night. A Merced firefighter captured it all on a GoPro camera the department bought for training purposes. Firefighters tore open a wooden shed and pulled down a fence for easier access. Crews had to work from the outside to protect themselves and nearby structures.

"What we have to do with these is err on the safe side, since we're pretty sure they're uninhabited we need to not just rush in and put ourselves in danger," said Batt. Chief Jeff Horta, Merced Fire Department.

Horta says the fire started about 24 hours after another vacant home went up in flames just a few blocks away. Both were used by transients, which already had neighbors on edge.

"I wasn't surprised. My uncle's house is next door, and he has a cedar shake roof, and those were the concerns that his house could catch on fire too," said Danny Garcia, neighbor.

Investigators are calling the fires suspicious, and they're trying to determine if one person could be to blame. "All we know at this time is in this area we've had an unusually high number of small fires, dumpster fires, grass fires, and then these couple of vacant home fires," said Horta.

Right now, all fires have the potential to spread quickly because of the drought, and people who live and work in the area say they're glad even more damage hasn't been done. "I think the fire department did an awesome job, they always do a good job, and I give them a lot of thanks," said Ron Shedd, business owner.
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