Fire authorities are calling two simultaneous fires along Bangs Avenue in north Modesto "suspicious" after they threatened five structures Saturday afternoon.
At just after 3 p.m. fire crews responded to a working structure fire on Bangs Avenue, just west of Prescott Avenue. Another vegetation fire about half a mile west on Bangs Avenue, just east of Dale Road, was called in at the same time. Crews from Modesto Fire and Ceres Fire responded to the blazes, said Modesto Fire Battalion Chief Darin Jesberg.
When firefighters arrived at the structure fire, three buildings were involved — two outbuildings and a barn. One of the outbuildings was destroyed and the other two buildings were damaged. Firefighters were able to save two homes in the fire's path, one vacant and one occupied. No one was injured.
Gusty winds made battling the blazes more challenging, Jesberg said. Embers from the blaze flew south across Bangs Avenue and burned a fence and some lawn furnishings on the 4300 block of Cooper Place. Once crews were done containing the nearby vegetation fire, they moved to assist at the structure fire.
"It's suspicious at this point with two fires being so close together," Jesberg said.
Seven fire engines and one ladder truck responded to the blazes. The structure fire was upgraded to two alarms when the homes were threatened. Crews were on scene for more than two hours. Jesberg said there was no estimate on the damages Saturday afternoon and the fires are under investigation.