One Dead in Early Morning Modesto House Fire

MODESTO -- A home in Modesto caught fire early Monday, killing one.

According to the Modesto Fire Department, calls came in about the Maze Boulevard abandoned house shortly after 4 a.m. Firefighters arrived to find the fire had already spread through much of the home.

Once inside, crews discovered a person had died in the flames. Family members and friends spoke with FOX40, claiming the victim was Javon Gonder, a woman in her 30s. Authorities have not confirmed the person's identity.

Two sisters of the deceased woman said she had been living in the abandoned house temporarily with her boyfriend, who was found lying in the street suffering from burns. He has been transported to an area hospital.

"I'm still in shock," said Leona Warner, who claimed to be the victim's sister.

(Credit: Modesto Fire Department)

It was not immediately known what started the fire. Those who live in the area say they had been inside the house and noticed the occupants were using extension cords to draw power from the home next door. They say they would not be surprised if that is what caused the fire.

The City of Modesto was apparently attempting to force people out of the abandoned houses in the neighborhood, according to people in the area.

Fire officials say the block will be taped off for several hours while they continue their investigation.