Authorities said the fire spread quickly to a fence, engulfing it in flames. It then spread into the single-family home’s attic. The family of four, two parents and two small children, were not at home at the time of the fire, and a neighbor was credited with rescuing the family dog from the backyard.
As firefighters arrived on scene for the call at 3:49 p.m. — originally for a vegetation fire — officials said they quickly upgraded the fire to a second alarm for more manpower and engines.
The fire quickly spread from the fence to the house and into the attic, Division Chief Dave Bramell said.
Firefighters from Tracy and the San Joaquin Defense Distribution Center went into the house to attack it from the inside, while other Tracy firefighters worked on the exterior.
At one point, a portion of the roof collapsed as members of the ladder company were cutting holes in the roof. He said all firefighters were ordered off and out of the building as they began to attack the fire from the outside. A short time later, the chimney collapsed into the attic.
Heavy smoke billowed through the small neighborhood, alerting residents to the fire.
“I was riding (my bicycle) to go play basketball, and I saw the smoke,” neighbor Trim Goldman said. “I went up there and saw the flames. First the fence was on fire, and then it disappeared. There was no fence.”
A neighbor who asked to remain anonymous said she smelled smoke and thought it was a grass fire —there have been many in a nearby field, she said.
“It’s a shame two little girls will be displaced because of it,” she said.
“It was a really nice family,” neighbor Phillip Rodriguez said, as he watched the firefighters extinguish the fire. “It’s really sad.”
The fire was put out in just over an hour, and no injuries were reported.
Those wishing to help the family can make donations to the San Joaquin County Chapter of the American Red Cross.