A 12-year-old girl escaped unharmed from a fire that gutted a family's apartment in central Modesto on Thursday.
The blaze caused about $80,000 in damage and left two adults and three children temporarily homeless, said Modesto fire battalion chief Sean Slamon. The fire's cause is still under investigation.
A 911 caller reported the fire at the Campos Verde Apartments on Calle de Rosas off Granger Avenue at 12:02 p.m. Firefighters arrived two minutes later and found a first-floor apartment engulfed in flames, said Slamon. It took about five minutes to put out the fire. Smoke damaged two units on the complex's second floor.
Tina Azevedo, a resident of the burned apartment, said her daughter Haeley Garcia was home alone watching television when the fire started. Garcia heard "something sparking" in her bedroom, Azevedo said. When she went to investigate the noise, she saw a pillow on fire. The fire appeared to have started in an electrical socket, Haeley told her mother. Haeley grabbed the family's pet cat and ran to a neighbor for help.
The girl was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, Slamon said .
Her father took her to a local hospital so doctors could examine her, Azevedo said.
About 45 minutes after the fire, Azevedo stood on the sidewalk outside her apartment, crying as she called friends and family. She cradled the family's three pet bearded dragons, Lulu, Tiny and Nodder, to her chest. The lizards were in a tank inside the apartment when the fire started. A firefighter pulled the tank from the blaze.
Azevedo hadn't been inside the apartment to see the damage, but she said she worried that everything inside was destroyed. "I'm glad nobody was hurt," Azevedo said. "I'm glad (my daughter) got out. I'm glad no one in the any of the other units was hurt. I feel horrible."
The blaze was the second apartment fire at the Campos Verde Apartments in recent months. In April, a second-story apartment balcony caught fire, causing about $10,000 worth of damage to a one-bedroom apartment.
Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2378.