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Fire forces family of nine out of Modesto home
modesto fire pic
A fire on Rouse Court in West Modesto destroyed a garage, part of a house and two cars on Tuesday. - photo by Photo Contributed

A natural gas fed fire caused major damage to a West Modesto home Tuesday.

At 3:17 p.m. Tuesday, the Modesto Regional Fire Authority was dispatched to a working structure fire on Rouse Court. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a garage completely on fire and a car in the driveway also on fire. An adjacent house and another vehicle were directly threatened and were taking an intense amount of heat, causing them to begin to catch on fire.

The fire quickly consumed the garage and drove into the rest of the home. Combating the fire was made difficult because the natural gas main failed, due to the fire, and was spewing pressurized natural gas, which continued to feed the inferno, said MRFA. Additionally, the electrical service also failed and was arcing and popping right next to the gas main. The electrical service was brought to the house via an underground conduit. Both the Modesto Irrigation District and PG&E were requested to scene.

 While a crew monitored the gas and electrical fire, other fire attack teams entered the house to battle the fire forcing its way into the living quarters. A truck company team was also sent to the roof to ventilate and release the heat and smoke from the attic. After a 20 minute battle, the fire was brought under control. The gas fire was allowed to burn until such time as the electrical service was secured. Once secured, firefighters stepped forward and safely closed the gas valve, stopping the fire

Mutual aid assistance was provided by the Burbank Paradise Fire Protection District. Their timely arrival with an engine was instrumental in attacking the fire, said MRFA.

The response force included five engines, two trucks, three chief officers, three safety officers and a fire investigator.  A total of 29 firefighters were committed to the scene and battled the fire in 95 degree temperatures. The fire loss is estimated at $90,000 in structural damage to the main house, a $15,000 loss to the two cars and the adjacent house, and $10,000 in content loss. The family of six adults and three children were displaced. The American Red Cross came to the scene to assist the family.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however, it appears to have been accidentally set inside the garage.