TRACY -- Clouds of thick, black smoke blanketed a Tracy neighborhood Sunday as a fast-moving fire fueled by winds spread from home to home.
“The smoke was so heavy I couldn't even see my yard,” said Cheryl Vosicka.
Vosicka and her husband had to stay with family out of town after the home they've lived in for nearly 30 years went up in flames Sunday evening.
“I looked out the door and saw fire on the side of our house and yelled and got my husband and our dogs out of the house,” she recalled.
Tracy firefighters say the four-alarm fire started in a backyard on Cabrillo Drive before jumping to homes on Royal Court and a nearby mobile home park.
“We feel very blessed we got out, our neighbors got out. We were very lucky,” Vosicka said.
Tracy police evacuated the neighborhood as firefighters battled the wind to put out the fire that damaged their home.
“Quite a bit of damage to the front bedrooms and we had an attic fire,” Vosicka told FOX40. “Probably started from embers coming from the neighbor’s trees or our trees.”
Vosicka said firefighters found and saved their three cats. Monday, they returned to their home to survey the damage and pick up their two pet turtles that also survived.
However, their neighbors weren't so lucky. The fire overtook their backyard and their home within minutes.
“They probably had 50 or 60 exotic birds in cages and they went quick,” Vosicka said. “I'm kind of sad about that. I loved hearing them all day and every day.”
They also lost a dog.
In all, firefighters say 11 structures were impacted. Of those, three homes, including the Vosickas’ home, sustained heavy fire damage but their neighbor's house was a total loss.
“My emotions are all over the place,” Vosicka said. “I'm thankful, I'm blessed, upset and nervous because we have a lot to do, a lot to go through still. This is only day one.”
The Vosickas said they plan to rebuild.
The South San Joaquin County Fire Authority says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.