CHURCH AUDITORIUM EVACUATED: Recessed lighting sparked a small fire Wednesday night in the auditorium at Big Valley Grace Community Church in north Modesto and forced about 80 people to get out, fire officials said. The fire started about 8:30 p.m. at the church on Tully Road, just south of Pelandale Avenue. No injuries were reported. Modesto fire Battalion Chief Terry Inderbitzen said the fire started when the hot lights ignited paper that was attached to them. The paper was being used as masking during painting, and someone forgot to remove it, said Battalion Chief Rich Sasser, who was off duty and in the church when the fire started. He said burning paper fell to the floor but went out quickly. Firefighters used fans to ventilate the auditorium.
POSSIBLE FATAL ACCIDENT: California Highway Patrol officers late Wednesday were investigating a possible fatal accident on South Ninth Street at Wisenor Avenue near Modesto. A report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle came in at 9:34 p.m., according to CHP dispatch logs. Officers arrived and found a person on the ground. They called for the Stanislaus County roads department to close Ninth Street and reroute traffic onto River Road. There was no vehicle stopped at the scene. Authorities later said the vehicle involved might be a large, beige sport utility vehicle.