Two suffer burns in Modesto garage fire

Two people suffered second-degree burns after a south Modesto garage they were sleeping in caught fire early this morning, authorities said.

Modesto firefighters were called to a house at 116 Barozzi Ave. at 6:40 a.m. When they arrived, they found a detached garage next to a vacant house in flames and a man and woman behind it, according to Dan Hinshaw, battalion chief for the Modesto Fire Department.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about 10 minutes.

The two occupants of the garage, a man in his late 40s and a woman in her mid-30s, were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. They suffered burns to their hands, feet and face.

Hinshaw said the cause of the fire still is under investigation.

However, there was no power to the garage, ruling out anything electrical. He said the two occupants told investigators they weren’t smoking or cooking anything.

He didn’t believe they had any ties to the property, and the garage wasn’t converted into anything resembling a living space. He said the contents included a car and wrought-iron fencing, among other items.

The medical helicopters landed at Shackelford Elementary School, one at 7:20 a.m. and the other at 7:35 a.m., Hinshaw said. They were both off the ground at 7:30 and 7:43, respectively.

Hinshaw said it’s typical in these cases to land helicopters in wide-open spaces away from trees, power lines and tall buildings. Parks and schools often offer that type of setting.

He said he was at the school and communicating with officials there before the helicopters landed to make sure everyone was safe.

There were a few children in the campus library at the time of the helicopters’ arrival. All other children arriving at the school were led to the campus’ south side, while the helicopters were on the north, Hinshaw said.

Classes began as normal at 8:20 a.m.

Four engines, one truck and a battalion chief tended to the fire. Damage was estimated at $20,000.

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