Residents desperate to save three puppies had to be stopped by police from going into their burning home to get them, authorities said Monday afternoon. Firefighters got the tiny dogs from the house on West Roseburg Avenue at Kearney Avenue but were unable to resuscitate them.
The fire, reported about 12:25 p.m., initially was said to be at a duplex, but it turned out to be a single-family home with modifications, said Modesto Fire Department spokeswoman Jessica Smart.
The blaze appears to have originated on the west side of the house, in the garage area, said acting Battalion Chief Darin Jesberg. First personnel on the scene found the house well involved in fire, he said. A second alarm was sounded, drawing additional crews from the Ceres Fire Department as well as Modesto.
Crews made an aggressive interior attack on the fire and knocked it down quickly, Jesberg said. The occupants were home when the fire began but got out safely, he said.
Most of the fire damage was to the garage side and rear of the house. About 30 percent of the home sustained damage, estimated at $100,000, Jesberg said. The cause is being investigated, and about an hour after the blaze, crews still had extensive mop-up to do, he said.
Firefighters found no mother dog in the house. An animal services officer with the Modesto Police Department later said he understands the puppies were orphans being bottle-fed by the residents.
A few hours after the Roseburg fire, MFD and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District crews were dispatched to a grass fire at East La Loma Park. The reporting party initially thought the smoke was coming from the area of Claus Road and the Dry Creek bike path, Jesberg said, but crews found nothing there. The person called again, saying it appeared closer to Edgebrook Drive.
Firefighters, too, could see a large column of smoke and found the grass fire in the park. They used the paved bike and running path to get to it.
“Grass 3 sought more resources because there were structures threatened to the southeast,” Jesberg said. A water tender, four engines and – because of the threatened structures – a truck crew responded, he said. Because the threat to structures quickly was eliminated, the truck was released early on, Jesberg said.
The cause of the fire, which burned about two acres, was not immediately determined. Looking over acres of tall, dry grass that remain in the park, Jesberg predicted firefighters will be out there at least a few more times this summer. By this time of the year, the grass typically has been mowed short, he said, but perhaps budget cuts have prevented landscaping upkeep.
Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327