3 fires damage Modesto homes, displace 12 residents

Bee Staff ReportsMay 16, 2014 

Three fires damaged homes in Modesto on Thursday and early Friday, including a kitchen fire that displaced 12 people living in a fourplex apartment unit on Tully Road. No injuries were reported in the fires.

The kitchen fire was reported about 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the home in the 2600 block of Tully Road just south of Davis High School in north Modesto. The tenants in one of the apartments were cooking when a grease fire erupted, said Battalion Chief Randy Anderson of the Modesto Regional Fire Authority.

He said the residents tried to put out the fire with water, but water typically doesn’t help put out a grease fire; it usually spreads the flames, as it did in this case. The kitchen cabinets caught fire, and then the attic.

The residents called 911 and got out of the home. Anderson said the apartments in the fourplex share an attic, but firefighters stopped the flames before they damaged the other homes. There was smoke damage, however, throughout the fourplex.

Because of the smoke damage, Red Cross officials helped the 12 displaced residents find temporary lodging. Anderson said the fire caused an estimated $80,000 in damage.

Earlier Thursday, about 5 p.m., flames engulfed a detached garage behind a home in the 100 block of Maple Street in west Modesto. Anderson said a resident was welding inside the garage and he left the work unattended.

Firefighters stopped the flames from spreading to any nearby buildings and had the fire under control in about 20 minutes. The fire caused an estimated $10,000 in damage.

About 4 a.m. Friday, a fire destroyed a vacant home on Santa Ana Avenue in Modesto’s airport neighborhood. Anderson said the house is one of three vacant, cottage-style homes that all have been damaged by fires.

Firefighters took a defensive stance on the blaze to keep it from spreading to the nearby homes and had the flames under control in about 30 minutes. The fire caused an estimated $35,000 to $45,000 in damage.

Anderson said transients frequent the area of the vacant homes, but nobody was found inside the burning house Friday. Investigators had not determined the cause of the fire.

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