Modesto fire damages houses, yards

naustin@modbee.comJuly 20, 2013 

    alternate textNan Austin
    Title: Education reporter
    Coverage areas: K-12 education, Yosemite Community College District
    Bio: Nan Austin has been a copy editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 24 years. She has an economics degree from CSU Stanislaus and previously worked at the Merced Sun-Star and Turlock Journal.
    Recent stories written by Nan
    On Twitter: @nanaustin

— A fire believed to have started in a backyard trailer Saturday burned three yards and parts of two houses in south Modesto.

No one was inside the homes when firefighters arrived at the three-alarm blaze that also brought down a power pole with live wires on one home.

Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Randy Anderson said the 4 p.m. fire in the 1200 block of Inyo Avenue took about 45 minutes to contain.

"It was a wall of flame when we got here," he said.

Modesto and Ceres sent 11 fire rigs to the scene, with roughly 40 firefighters. Anderson said the cause of the fire had not been determined, but a preliminary investigation suggested it started in a backyard trailer and quickly spread through the yards.

Resident Alejandro Herrera, 19, said he returned from a quick errand to find his parents' home on fire.

"I had just enough time to save our dogs," he said.

Herrera said his arm was slightly burned while rescuing the dogs.

Standing across the street with neighbors, Sonia and Omar Herrera said they had gone to the market just before the fire started. They had not been able to get close enough to their home to assess the damage.

Anderson said it was the third structure fire of the day. A shed burned behind a home on Tuolumne Boulevard in west Modesto shortly after 7 a.m., and a home on Alamo Avenue in south Modesto was "totally gutted" around 11 a.m. Saturday. No details on those fires were available.

Bee staff writer Nan Austin can be reached at or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin.

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