Unattended Barbecue causes House Fire

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A lit barbecue, left unattended, started a fire that scorched the back end of a Modesto home Sunday evening.

“The flames were already really tall. I could see it from the from the front of the house,” said Crystal Tobar.

Tobar was sitting on her front porch when she saw those flames rise from her neighbor’s backyard.

“So we ran across the street. We were banging on the door. There’s a fire, there’s a fire! The guy was walking in from the back door, and he’s like what, and then turned back around. The lady shut the door on me and the guy, I don’t know, it was crazy,” said Tobar.

Crazy, Tobar said, because the woman refused to come outside, and the man walked back toward the flames.

“That’s true, we had to assist the woman. She kept trying to go back inside. We had to restrain her for a second. He sustained a burn to his leg, looks like his calf, and he’s refused treatment,” said Interim Fire Chief Sean Slamon with Modesto Regional Fire Authority.

“I thought he got burned, I thought he was done,” said Tobar.

Slamon said the man was trying to burn old grease off a barbecue in his backyard. He left in unattended for a few moments, and a grease fire engulfed the backyard. Among the ashes, a burned shed and outhouse, The fire eventually spread inside of the house as well, causing an estimated $20,000 in damages.

The homeowners told FOX40 they had no comments. The Red Cross assisted the couple with temporary housing.

“It is a pretty common thing, especially with a barbecue, we thinks it’s normal, so we leave it alone, unattended. From a Fire Department’s perspective, we’re gonna preach to you, make sure you keep an eye on barbecues,” said Slamon.

One firefighter was sent to the hospital with heat exhaustion.

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