Fire displaces Modesto family, kills seven pets

etracy@modbee.comMay 18, 2014 

A two-alarm house fire in Modesto’s airport neighborhood displaced a family and took the lives of seven of their pets early Sunday morning.

The fire started in the carport of a home in the 800 block of Kerr Avenue just after 6 a.m., said Battalion Chief Cecil Ridge of the Modesto Regional Fire Authority.

By the time firefighters arrived, four minutes after they were dispatched, the blaze had spread to the interior of the home and the attic. Flames had also spread to a vacant house to the south that was being remodeled, Ridge said.

Smoke had filled the house and the occupants had to crawl through a small bathroom window to get out, with the assistance of a family member who lives in a studio apartment on the property.

A man helped his aunt, who lives in the home, pull at least one of his young cousins through the window as well as several of the family’s pets, before the fire became too intense and all had to evacuate.

Ridge said four cats and three dogs perished in the fire.

The fire was brought under control after about 30 minutes.

The family’s home was destroyed. At least three adults and several children were displaced, Ridge said.

The home to the south sustained moderate damage and a home to the north had light damage, he said.

Ridge estimates the total cost of damage to the structures and their contents to be about $100,000. The family declined assistance from the American Red Cross.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Five engines, three trucks and two chief officers from MRFA and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District responded to the fire.

A fire at a home in Turlock the day before also displaced a family. The home on in the 2200 block of High Street was destroyed by fire about 2 a.m. Saturday.

A couple and their 9-year-old child awoke to the strong smell of smoke and found a fire in the attic, according to the Turlock Fire Department.

The family escaped the blaze with their two cats and a dog.

The fire caused an estimated $50,000 and rendered it uninhabitable.

The American Red Cross provided shelter, food and clothing to the family.

Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at etracy@modbee.com or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter @ModestoBeeCrime.

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