News


Burned out house on Angela being cleaned up for possible teardown

Investigation still continuing into cause of blaze that injured homeowner

Although the investigation by Pleasanton police continues into last December's house fire on East Angela Street, the burned out house may finally be nearing a teardown.

Neighbors and others, including those using the St. Augustine Catholic Church main driveway directly across from the charred structure at 839 E.Angela St., have complained in recent weeks to city officials and the Pleasanton Weekly that the house has become a neighborhood eyesore.

Last week, crews from Betchner Construction ripped out some of the inside walls and pulled dumpster-loads of debris from the home that was once owned and was still being lived in at the time of the fire by Deonna Zuffa, 40, and her family. The work indicates that all physical evidence has been analyzed and removed. Police have classified the fire as arson.

Joanne Hall, spokeswoman for the city of Pleasanton, said the work crews have not yet obtained a city permit for demolition of the house, which is required by municipal law.

The fire at the Zuffa home began at 11 a.m. Dec. 8. Deonna Zuffa, who was the only person home, was witnessed by neighbors running out of the home, engulfed by flames. Neighbors said they heard a loud explosion that shook the ground, followed by the blaze that has left the single-story home a total loss. The Zuffa family's two dogs were not injured in the fire as they had been taken to a pet groomer, fire officials said.

Sgt. Jim Knox of the Pleasanton Police Department has declined to say who police believe caused the arson. Police have acknowledged that the Zuffa family, which includes Deonna Zuffa's husband and their two children, owned muscle cars and go-karts and had gasoline containers stored in the garage, but declined to say whether the gasoline may have contributed to the explosion or fire.

Police have also declined to say where the fire started, a fast-burning blaze that also damaged two neighboring homes and displaced a second family. The investigation has been prolonged because police have not been able to speak with Deonna Zuffa, who was reportedly recovering from second- and third-degree burns at St. Francis Memorial Hospital, but has since been moved to another care facility. Police, her family and hospital spokespeople have declined to give an update on her condition.

Zuffa and her husband Keith filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in June 2008, according to public records. Records also show the home, at one time valued at nearly $1 million, was sold for $75,000 in a foreclosure sale on Sept. 30 to Marilyn and Richard Greenberg in the name of the Greenberg Trust.

Since the December fire, the Zuffa home has been surrounded by a tall fence. Other homes also burned by the fire have since been repaired and neighbors called the Zuffa property "a continuing eyesore" that needed to be removed.

Janet Pelletier,Jeb Bing

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Jane
a resident of Country Fair
on May 27, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Can someone please explain how a 1 million $ home can be purchased for 75K?


Like this comment
Posted by It's puzzling
a resident of Birdland
on May 27, 2009 at 10:39 pm

The only scenario I can think of is that the Greenberg Trust financed the property for the new owner. If the new owner then went into default, the trust may have "repurchased" it for the equity that the new owner accrued through any down payment and principal payments. $925,000 might have been the remaining amount on the loan.

Of course it would be interesting to know if the property tax base had been dropped to $75,000 after this transaction.


Like this comment
Posted by WalterK
a resident of Castlewood
on May 28, 2009 at 10:31 am

Can someone please explain to me how six months can go by, it was deemed arson, but yet no official statement????? For gods sakes it was a house fire not a national security threat.....What is the big secret??????? As Pleasanton residents that apparently live near an arsonist, is it too much to ask what is going on? What is going to happen? Is anyone going to be formally charged? maybe we should just turn our heads to this crime and the nightmare that lingers amongst neighbors will just disappear. The lack of information and action from authorities is extremely troubleing to me. Why even say it was "arson" if you are not going to do anything about it?

PW-PLEASE stay on top of this, our locals deserve to know what is going on.......especially if there is an arsonist on the loose!!!


Like this comment
Posted by get real
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 28, 2009 at 11:10 am

WalterK -- there is no arsonist "on the loose", last I heard she is still in the hospital recovering from burns. Her kids were safe at school, her husband away from the home, their dogs both at the groomers. Oh yeah, her jewelry in a container in her car, parked around the block.
Amazing what people will do for money . . . .


Like this comment
Posted by WalterK
a resident of Castlewood
on May 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm

get real-- from the last I heard Mrs. Zuffa had been released from the hospital some time ago. (I happen to know someone that is a new neighbor of Mr. Zuffa and his boys) They were & are in shock as much as anyone from what I understand. Based on what I heard the husband is like the rest of the public, just wainting on an answer from the folks handling the investigation. My point regarding the "arsonist on the loose" is merely the unanswered questions of.......did the Mrs. work alone, was there an accomplice? Obviously if only her belongings were stashed she wasnt thinking about the hubby too much. The sooner they put this to rest the better for all close to the situation.


Like this comment
Posted by Jackie
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on May 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm

A very sad story everyway you look at it for everyone concerned.....what a horrible risk to take and price to pay for material possessions


Like this comment
Posted by Sorry
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2009 at 8:27 am

Arson is a VERY hard crime to prove, the evidence goes up with the smoke!


Like this comment
Posted by Sydney
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

Yea apprently there is still a lot of "smoke" still surrounding this situation. Seems as though the whole "arson" claim is full of smoke and mirrors. There can be an arson claim but yet no suspects named, sought after etc. I am just wondering but why wouldnt the local councilmember be pushing for answers for the immediate community members??? I know that if this had been ongoing for this long in my neighborhood with out an answer, you better believe I would be ringing the ear ouf my councilman. Like any crime the evidence is key, but with the certified professionals that completed the investigation, along with the amateur arson skills that were put on display; one would think that this would be a pretty easy case to close.


Like this comment
Posted by Not that difficult
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

So why haven't they made an arrest yet? The Pleasanton PD and the insurance company seems to have had long enough to do their investigation. The primary person we all suspect is said to have released from the hospital. It all seems obvious to us. Hey PW, have you checked recently with the PPD?


Like this comment
Posted by Sorry
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm

So how do you prove who poured gasoline in the house if nobody's talking?


Like this comment
Posted by waiting
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Sorry, maybe you should ask the PPD or your elected District Atourney,whats taking so long. It doesn't take 6 months to figure this out, maybe this case is to difficult for them!!!


Like this comment
Posted by WalterK
a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 8, 2009 at 8:36 am

Well they seemed to have diagnosed the entire swine flu fiasco but they cant seem to get the fire investigation completed or put to rest.

I think the best solution is to contact the council members office and see what is really going on. I am hoping that the proper justice is served. Anyone thought about getting the opinion of the D.A. ?????? I guess that's the office that would know the truth to what is going on. Keep puttin the heat on folks.....we deserve the truth as a community!


Like this comment
Posted by Sydney
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Hey Walter maybe you should consider running for public office within the community, you seem to be motivated. Im sure there are plenty of folks on here that think you fit the mold. I mean, you sound more like an ass than myself...you got my vote! Heck if it helps get answers to these shameful incidents then go for it. Pleasanton is a beautiful area that has a good reputation....but seems to be on the slide at the moment


Like this comment
Posted by waiting
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 17, 2009 at 12:17 pm

We will go after pot growers in Sunol but not arsonists in Pleasanton. Where is the justice?


Like this comment
Posted by tyu
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm

They know what happened. I think they are waiting for her to recover so 'we' don't have to pay for her health care. Anyway I heard from a friend of their family that the husband is more than innocent.


Like this comment
Posted by Zuffa Supporter
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 20, 2010 at 11:34 am

You all need to really get a life [portion removed because of disrespectful language]. Keith Zuffa had nothing to do with anything that's going on. Another thing [portion removed because of disrespectful language], get ur facts straight, the meth lab was accross the street and was found AFTER the house burnt down. [Portion removed because of disrespectful language] Just cuz one person messed up big does not mean u can down talk the whole family.
Another issue I have with all of u ppl that seem to regret donating, I got one thing to say to u, if u were in this families shoes, how would u feel if all the ppl in ur town didn't wanna help you, you all need to remember one thing, karma sucks, and its going to come around to all of u. Its not any of ur buisness what is going on in the investigations, what charges are being set, or who is to blame. U all should really grow up, mind ur own [portion removed because of disrespectful language] buisness, [portion removed because of disrespectful language]!!!

For those that have enough sense to realize that the kids are the ones that benefited from the donations and support those that are victims, I thank you, at least there are some people that have enough sense and can read a simple article. Its people like you that make this world an easier place to live.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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