A home east of Empire was destroyed by fire and the two residents were displaced Friday afternoon.
It took hours to get the fire under control because of the “unique” construction of the roof and because the fire had spread throughout the home’s attic before firefighters were even dispatched, said Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Capt. Buck Condit.
The fire started at the split-level home built on a bluff at the end of Davidson Road, south of Yosemite Boulevard at about 12:30 p.m.
Condit said the homeowner was working on the roof using heat and tar and accidentally set one of the shingles on fire.
But the construction of the roof both prolonged the discovery of the fire by the homeowner and hampered fire suppression efforts once crews arrived.
Condit said a metal roof had been installed on top of an old shake roof and in between the two was fiberglass insulation and wood.
He said the fire spread quickly in the space between the two roofs and into the attic. The layers of roof made ventilation difficult and by the time they were able to cut a hole in the roof to let the flames escape the fire had spread throughout the entire attic.
“We could have had 40 people there at dispatch time and it probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome because of the head start the fire had and the roof construction,” Condit said.
Furthermore, firefighters who were battling the blaze inside the home had to be pulled out as the roof started to dip.
It was more than two hours before the fire was under control and crews were putting out hot spots into the early evening Friday.
Condit said the home was destroyed, with an estimated damage of about $350,000. He said firefighters were able to salvage photos and personal documents during the suppression effort.
Stanislaus Consolidated was assisted by Hughson and Modesto Fire departments, with a total of 35 personnel on scene.
The residents declined Red Cross assistance and said they would stay with neighbors.