Investigators believe a house fire this morning on the 1700 block of Candler Lane in Modesto might have been arson. No one was home when the fire broke out about 6:01 a.m. in the Village I neighborhood, Modesto Fire Battalion Chief Hugo Patino said.
Fire crews found a labrador and poodle while searching for anyone inside and brought the dogs to safety, Patino said. One dog was under a bed.
He said the house appeared to have been ransacked and investigators were looking into the possibility that the fire was intentionally set. He said the fire, limited to a closet and two bedrooms, was smoldering when police arrived. He estimated fire crews were still working on a damage estimate but preliminarily put it at about $100,000. Candler Lane is north of East Briggsmore and west of Claus Road.
A neighbor on a morning walk heard a fire alarm and reported it. Crews initially had trouble tracing the smoke in the dense fog, Patino said. He said they were able to extinguish the smoldering fire within a few minutes after finding it.