MODESTO — Modesto firefighters had a busy weekend, responding to three house fires, a man who punched his fist through a nightclub window and a vacant house where the basement had seven feet of water in it.
Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Cecil Ridge provided this account:
Twenty firefighters, five engines and a ladder truck responded to a house in the 400 block of Floyd Avenue about 12:30 p.m. Saturday after residents reported the garage was on fire. The garage and back patio were on fire when firefighters arrived, and the garage roof collapsed within five minutes of their arrival.
The fire started in the garage and appeared to have been accidental. Firefighters kept it from spreading to the house, though the house sustained smoke and heat damage. Structural damage is estimated at $80,000 and property damage at $50,000, including the loss of the two cars in the garage. There were no injuries.
Seventeen of those firefighters then responded to a house fire in the 1400 block of Silverado Drive about 3:30 p.m. The front porch had caught on fire. Damage is estimated at $5,000.
Saturday night, a man at the Speakeasy Lounge in downtown Modesto put his fist through a window. He is expected to recover from his injuries.
Firefighters were dispatched about 7:30 a.m. Sunday after a resident reported a hissing sound from a vacant home in the 500 block of Needham Street. The house is being remodeled, and firefighters discovered that someone had left the water on or that a water pipe had burst. Water was in the entire home but pooled in the basement, reaching seven feet in depth. Firefighters turned the water off and pumped out the basement while contacting the homeowner, who contacted the family member who is doing the remodel.
Modesto firefighters helped Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District firefighters with a house fire about 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Santa Ana Avenue in the airport neighborhood. The house was vacant and the gas and electric meters had been removed. But someone had turned the gas on and a flame was shooting from where the meter had been. The fire downed a power line to the home. The line hit a backyard cyclone fence and electrified it. Utility crews were called to turn off the gas and power.
Consolidated Battalion Chief Rick Bussell said the house was boarded up, and there was no evidence that squatters had been living in it. He said there were no nearby homes so no one had to be evacuated. He said the fire is considered suspicious and its cause is under investigation.