Residents of a home on Debonair Drive that caught fire Saturday night were there legally, a Modesto Fire Department battalion chief said Monday.
Initial reports at the scene that night were that it appeared transients were staying in the home.
The residents showed authorities paperwork that they were subleasing and had permission to be in the home, Battalion Chief Darin Jesberg said. The papers stated the residents were being evicted the next day, he said, and Pacific Gas & Electric was shutting off its utility meter because it, too, had information the house would be unoccupied.
The confusion over legal occupancy arose because residents were pushing shopping carts clear of the home, Jesberg said, and more shopping carts were inside.
He said residents initially sought Red Cross assistance for 25 people, but eventually aid was requested for eight adults and one minor displaced by the fire.
Fire crews arrived just after 9 p.m. to find fire at the back of the house in the 1900 block of Debonaire. They were able to quickly put out the blaze and no one was injured.
The Modesto Irrigation District also was called to the scene because a power line in the back of the house had fallen, Jesberg said.