A roof came crashing down early Saturday as firefighters were putting out a blaze that destroyed a vacant west Modesto house on Kansas Avenue, fire officials said.
No injuries were reported.
The fire occurred about 5:45 a.m. at the house in the 1200 block of Kansas Avenue, a couple of blocks east of North Carpenter Road.
The first firefighters to arrive saw heavy smoke coming from the home's attic and garage, said Modesto Fire Battalion Chief Dan Hinshaw.
Firefighters launched an interior attack on the blaze. They got inside the home and within minutes they spotted signs that the roof was about to collapse.
"They could see (the roof) starting to sag," Hinshaw said. "Once they saw it sagging, they got out of there. Two roof lines collapsed and pancaked on each other."
He said the collapsed roof created hidden pockets of fire, which made extinguishing the blaze difficult. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to get the fire under control.
Nearby homes saved
The firefighters kept the flames from reaching nearby homes and businesses. The fire's origin and cause had not been determined. The house did have electricity, but it did not have gas.
Hinshaw said nobody was inside the home when firefighters arrived, but a window had been broken. He said it was unclear whether anyone was squatting at the home.
The fire gutted the home and caused an estimated $125,000 in damage. This was the second time in 16 days that a fire destroyed a building on Kansas Avenue, between Lone Palm and Reno avenues.
On Oct. 29, a blaze destroyed the offices of the Stanislaus Arts Council and two other businesses at 1100 Kansas Ave., west of Emerald Avenue. The October fire's cause remains under investigation.
Around the corner, two other major fires have destroyed buildings in the past five months.
In July, a suspected arson caused $150,000 in damage at Groceries for Less market at 1012 N. Carpenter Road.
In August, a fire destroyed an office building at 1050 N. Carpenter. Authorities believe a mechanical or electrical malfunction in the attic started the August fire.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.