Firefighters say there were 18 people living in the house – including adults and children. They say the fire originated in the garage which have been converted to living quarters.
A next door neighbor, whose house was damaged, said so many people should not have been living next door and that contributed to the fire. She was told that the person living in the garage had too many plugs attached to a power strip.
The house was a section 8 government-assisted rental. Normally sub-leasing such a unit is not allowed and there are limits as to how many people can live in the rental.
The Modesto Fire District says the fire started in the garage and that this early in the investigation they could not rule out an electrical cause to the fire.