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Two homes burn within two hours of one another
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Firefighters battled two structure fires in separate parts of Ceres in less than two hours of one another on Saturday morning.

Resources had to be called in to assist because first responders also were dealing with a major car crash on Sequoia Street stemming from a police pursuit.

The first fire broke out at 1:44 a.m. at a vacant home in the 1700 block of River Road near Moffet Road. Ceres Fire Captain Randy Wheeler said the fire charred a bedroom but the entire house sustained smoke damage. The fire damaged was limited, he said, because a cleaning crew had closed all the interior doors, restricting the fire until firefighters could put water on it.

The same house sustained a fire seven to 10 years ago, Wheeler said.

The cause of the fire is considered suspicious and damage estimated at $20,000.

During fire suppression and mop-up operations, at least three intoxicated drivers came to the scene, one because he lived in the area. Sheriff's deputies arrested two drivers for drunk drivers.

At 3:25 a.m. on June 30, a fire broke out at 766 Del Sol Court, resulting in heavy flames. Police officers evacuated residences to the east and west as one house to the east sustained fire damage from the intense flames. An interior attack on the fire was delayed, said Wheeler, for fear of collapse and the need to wait for mutual aid during a second alarm that brought help from Modesto City, Stanislaus Consolidated and Westport fire departments.

The house, built in the 1990s, sustained heavy damage

Occupants of the home were camping at the time and not home. However, Wheeler said the fire appears to be caused by an accidental action.