MODESTO -- A house in west Modesto was badly damaged by fire Tuesday morning, but neighbors and firefighters saved a Chihuahua and her three puppies that were trapped inside.
The fire likely started in the attic on the west side of the house at 815 Chicago Ave., said Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Mark Johansen.
Neighbor Connie Hayes and her husband spotted the fire when they came outside to take their grandchildren to school.
They knew there were dogs inside, and her son could see the mother Chihuahua from a bedroom window. He broke the window and carried her to safety, Hayes said.
She and her son used garden hoses on the house until firefighters arrived.
Hayes told crews about the puppies; a firefighter went inside to retrieve them.
From the inside, firefighters pulled down the ceiling and doused the flames with water while other firefighters used hoses on the exterior, Johansen said.
It took about 10 minutes to get the fire under control, but nearly two hours to ventilate the home and check all the "void spaces" that still could be burning, Johansen said. Additional resources were called in to help with mop-up.
"These crews are pretty fatigued," Johansen said. "They are on their second 24-hour day of working and they are tired because they were busy yesterday and there is a lot of training going on right now."
Five engines and a truck, totaling 22 people, were on the scene.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Johansen estimates that the cost of damage to the home is $50,000 and the damage to belongings could be as much as $10,000.
He did not know how many people would be displaced because of the fire.