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House Fire Erupts On Raintree Lane
A pillar of dark smoke rose over west Riverbank and fire trucks raced to the scene Wednesday afternoon as a particularly smoky fire began in the garage and spread to the house at 2225 Raintree Lane off North Oakdale Road.

"I heard a noise and opened the garage door (from the inside) to see if my husband had come back -he'd gone to Home Depot - and saw a small fire on the floor which rapidly ran up the wall. So I called 911 and went to see if my neighbors had extinguishers," said homeowner Donna Wilson, who was alone in the house at the time but left uninjured.

To tackle the 2:30 p.m. fire, eight engines and a rescue unit eventually gathered in the street, coming from Stanislaus Consolidated, Modesto, Oakdale, Escalon and even Hughson and Salida.

Consolidated Battalion Chief Paul Spani said the engines were needed not so much to pump water as to bring manpower as firefighters had problems getting through the house roof.

"The house had two to three layers of roofing," he said. "We had a hard time cutting through the sheet metal down to the wood shingles underneath." Spani estimated damage to the house and its contents at about $150,000.

Officials were still determining the exact cause but said it may have been related to improperly disposed of smoking materials.

Donna Wilson said the garage had a number of appliances in it like a hot water tank and a refrigerator.

"There was also my old Cadillac which we planned on trading," she added.

That vehicle was totally destroyed.

Her neighbors across the street, Clarence and Dorothy Siler, found a garden hose and tried to help but the flames spread quickly.

The blaze took many hours to control and extinguish. Some firefighters remained to put out lingering hot spots and did not leave the scene until after 8 p.m.