Local

2 Modesto apartments burn; 6 homeless

A fire Monday engulfed a first-floor apartment at Valley Oak Apartments, 2300 Oakdale Road, in Modesto.  The Fire Department responded shortly before 4:00 p.m., extinguished the fire and rescued a dog from the apartment above the burning unit.  the fire was confined to the downstairs unit.
A fire Monday engulfed a first-floor apartment at Valley Oak Apartments, 2300 Oakdale Road, in Modesto. The Fire Department responded shortly before 4:00 p.m., extinguished the fire and rescued a dog from the apartment above the burning unit. the fire was confined to the downstairs unit. Modesto Bee

Fires wreaked havoc Monday afternoon at two apartment complexes in Modesto, leaving six people without a home.

The unrelated fires occurred within a 40-minute period, at the Valley Oak Apartments on Oakdale Road and the Bridgeford Apartments near Sylvan and McHenry avenues.

The first blaze, reported at 3:27 p.m., destroyed a ground-floor dwelling at the Valley Oak Apartments at 2300 Oakdale Road. Modesto city firefighters arriving at the scene found smoke pouring from the unit and evacuated one wing of the complex, said Battalion Chief Terry Inderbitzen.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in seven minutes, he said. They searched the dwelling and found no one inside. Personnel also searched the second-floor apartment above the dwelling, rescuing a dog.

Officials estimated the damage to the ground-floor apartment at $100,000. Other than being filled with smoke, the upper unit wasn't damaged, Inderbitzen said.

Nancy Arnold, who lived in the gutted dwelling, returned with her own canine as fire crews were mopping up. She said her car was recently damaged by fire and she had been out looking for a rental car.

"I am totally devastated," she said. "I don't know what my options are."

She was going to talk with managers of the complex about moving to another apartment unit. Officials were trying to determine the cause of the blaze.

The second fire, on the second floor of a two- story building at the Bridgeford Apartments at 3709 Bridgeford Lane, was reported shortly after 4 p.m. Some fire personnel were diverted from the Oakdale Road complex to assist.

The Bridgeford fire started on a balcony and spread into the dwelling, officials said. The people living in the apartment were not home.

The flames were extinguished in 10 minutes, but not before the apartment sustained close to $80,000 in fire damage, officials said. In addition, there was water damage to the apartment below.

Fire crews salvaged some belongings in the fire-damaged apartment and most of the personal property in the lower unit.

The Red Cross was offering assistance to the father, mother and child who lived in the fire-damaged apartment. An adult and child living in the bottom-floor apartment were displaced, but should be able to reoccupy the dwelling today or Wednesday, officials said.

According to officials, the cause of the fire was barbecue coals that had been placed in a box on the deck. The occupants of the second-floor apartment had used the barbecue Sunday, officials said.

To comment, click on the link at www.modbee.com. Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or 578-2321.

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