A three-alarm fire fueled by high winds Friday afternoon caused significant fire damage to two northeast Modesto homes and minor damage to a third.
The fire started around 3:15 p.m. in the garage of one of the homes in the 2200 block of Harvest Road, northwest of Orangeburg and Lakewood avenues, said Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Hugo Patino.
Firefighters upgraded the fire to a second alarm before they got to the scene because they could see a large, black column of smoke.
The fire had spread to a house next door, and wind carried embers north to a house on Cedarbrook Court, prompting firefighters to upgrade to a third alarm, which brought eight engines, three trucks and about 30 personnel to the scene.
The Cedarbrook fire was extinguished quickly, but flames in the Harvest homes spread quickly through the attics, causing significant damage, Patino said.
None of the residents were home when the fire started, but firefighters rescued a cat and a dog, the latter of which was treated for smoke inhalation.
Patino did not know late Friday afternoon how many people were displaced as a result of the fire or have an estimate on the financial damage.
The cause remains under investigation.