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Intense weekend for firefighters
Fires break out at pallet yard, Alamo Avenue home, trailer park
Alamo fire
A fire destroyed a home and a vehicle on Alamo Avenue in South Modesto at 7:11 a.m. Saturday. A generator powering the house may have been the cause. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

A series of fires in the Ceres and South Modesto area kept Ceres and other agency firefighters busy Saturday and Sunday.

A home on Alamo Avenue in South Modesto caught fire at 7:11 a.m. Saturday and when Ceres and Modesto firefighters arrived on scene flames were shooting out of the back of the residence. Investigators say the fire started outside the home - possibly from a generator which was being used to power the house - and spread to the inside. Firefighters were hampered by a live downed electrical line. Also damaged were a vehicle, wooden fences and some outbuildings.

Two dogs died in the fire.

The fire caused an estimated $170,000 in damages and displaced four occupants. They were assisted by the American Red Cross.

Firefighters successfully protected two neighboring homes from flames.

At least one firefighter hurt his knee during the incident.

At 4:50 p.m. Ceres and Modesto firefighters were called to a vehicle fire in the 1100 block of Stonum Road threatening a garage and home. Their quick work extinguished the flames before they had a chance to do significant damage to the vehicle and garage.

The fire started when a man at the home was working on his vehicle and flammable liquids nearby accidentally caught fire. He sustained minor burns when he attempted to put the fire out. The man refused to seek treatment at the hospital. An estimated $15,000 in damage was caused in the Stonum incident.

Strong winds that blew into the Valley didn't help when a 6:34 p.m. fire broke out inside a double-wide mobile home coach in the Sunrise Village Mobile Home Park on South Seventh Street. When firefighters from Ceres, Modesto, Turlock and Stanislaus Consolidated fire agencies arrived, the coach was fully engulfed in flames and threatening neighboring coaches. The fire spread to two adjacent trailers, prompting a call for water tenders from Westport, Burbank-Paradise and Woodland fire departments.

Because of the heat of the evening and strong winds, a fourth trailer caught on fire and was destroyed. Firefighters also faced a slight delay when they had to stretch a long water line from a distant hydrant via two engines connections. A grass fire was sparked on the backside of the park just south of the Tuolumne River because of flying embers.

Downed live electrical lines presented an access problem for the firefighters until power could be shut off.

When it was all over, a number of residents were displaced and facing the collective loss of $300,000 in damage. The cause of the fire had not been determined.
One firefighter was treated at a Modesto hospital for heat exhaustion.

As crews were still on scene at the mobile home park fire, at 9:44 p.m. came a call about a fire at the corner of South Ninth Street and Hosmer Avenue that destroyed 50,000 pallets in the yard of Pedro's Pallets. The intensive fire destroyed about 30 cars in an adjacent tow yard, a small storage building and 200 tires in a storage yard. The fire was spread when 30 propane tanks on pallets exploded. Some of the debris from the tanks was retrieved some 200 feet away. The fire put off such an intensive heat that it caused glass to melt at N's Donuts, 75 feet across the street to the east at 536 South Ninth Street. The business sustained cosmetic damage, roof damage and the loss of product.

A total of 55 firefighters from throughout the region were called in to fight the blazes, along with 14 engines, three trucks and four chiefs.

The cause of the fire could not be determined but is under investigation.

Ceres Fire Batallion Chief Rich Scola said vehicle and foot traffic from curiosity seekers interfered with firefighter access.

During the fire two high-voltage power systems were knocked out, causing power to halt to about three dozen businesses along South Ninth Street. Many business owners feared looting and staked watchful eyes through the night and into Sunday mid-day when the power was restored.