3 departments battle fire that tears through vacant house in Ceres

Fire destroyed a vacant house on the 1800 block of Walnut Avenue in Ceres on Wednesday night.

About 8:15 p.m., crews from the Ceres, Modesto and Stanislaus Consolidated fire departments responded to a report of a fully involved structure fire, said Modesto Battalion Chief Randy Anderson.

First crews on scene found heavy fire throughout the house, he said. It was easy to see into the home and determine no one was inside, Anderson said, so firefighters operated in defensive mode, attacking the fire from outside only.

There are no known witnesses to the fire, Anderson said, and the point of origin and cause have yet to be determined. The house has been vacant for some time, he said, and there was quite a bit of trash and debris in the back yard. The house had not previously burned, Anderson said, though one across the street had, a few times.

Fire crews knocked down the blaze in about 15 to 20 minutes but were on scene Wednesday night about two hours to ensure it was out.