Modesto, Salida fires injure man, kill dog

gstapley@modbee.comMarch 3, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textGarth Stapley
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: Regional water, growth, land-use and transportation; civil law, real estate fraud and special projects
    Bio: In his 19 years with The Bee, Garth Stapley has focused on city and county government
    E-mail: gstapley@modbee.com

— A man was injured and a dog perished in two of three separate blazes that kept firefighters hopping during a 12-hour period over the weekend in Salida and Modesto.

The unidentified, middle-aged man was flown by helicopter to a hospital after an explosion involving aerosol cans and candles at 1:54 a.m. Sunday in a bedroom at 5036 Kiernan Ave., west of Highway 99.

The explosion shattered a window, and the man's head and arms were singed, according to the Modesto Regional Fire Authority.

"What he was doing in there, we are not sure," Battalion Chief Cecil Ridge said.

A property owner said the man and another man and woman who escaped were not squatters but had no electricity, Ridge said. The fire caused about $80,000 in damage, he said.

Firefighters leaving about 4:20 a.m. were directed to another blaze at 1629 Imperial Ave. in south Modesto. That home didn't have power either; occupants ran an extension cord next door and one who wasn't home apparently had used candles, Ridge said.

The man's pit bull dog nipped at a firefighter's gloved hand, retreated inside and was killed in the fire, which melted a sliding glass door and caused about $65,000 in damage.

One occupant, fearful of the heat, had escaped through a window and another fled through the front door, Ridge said.

Firefighters also extinguished a second-story kitchen blaze at 4:22 p.m. Saturday at an apartment complex on Kiernan Avenue at McHenry Avenue, causing about $40,000 in damage. No one was injured.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or (209) 578-2390.

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