A fire broke out on a property in west Modesto on Saturday that one resident described as “basically a homeless camp” and a “nuisance.”
The Burbank Paradise Fire District responded to a report of a vegetation fire in the alley between Avalon and Faustina avenues at about 8:30 a.m., said Captain Jose Ramirez. While en route crews saw a large column of black smoke and requested more units to respond.
When they arrived they found a structure and a trailer on fire, along with a large amount of trash and debris on the property.
Neighbor Mary Robison said the structure that burned was essentially a makeshift shed that squatters live in. She’s lived on Avalon for decades and said the property was just a vacant lot until about three years ago when people began moving trailers, campers and RVs onto the property and powering them with generators. She said people come and go, start fires, cook drugs and participate in other illegal activity.
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Robison said she is afraid to let her grandchildren play in the front yard as a result and has been working with Stanislaus County to try to get the property cleaned up.
Ramirez said the district has responded to several fires on the property in the past and have increasingly been dealing with vegetation fires in the alley behind it.
The fire burned a fence in the backyard of a home behind the property but firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to neighboring homes and had it extinguished in about 25 minutes.