Flames erupted just after 10:15 p.m. Thursday from a Modesto home that police had surrounded for nearly 12 hours in a standof where the suspect is accused of killing two people; one was a sheriff's deputy.
Large flames tore into the sky from the Modesto apartment building even into the early morning hours of Friday. The suspect was believed to be holed up after the shooting.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said the fire was caused by "incendiary devices," which include flash bangs and gas.
The slain deputy was identified Thursday evening as Robert Paris. He and another deputy went to a home to serve an eviction notice before the shooting, about 11 a.m., in the 2100 block of Chrysler Drive.
Several agencies got involved throughout the day, including a SWAT team and the FBI.
People in neighboring homes and areas were evacuated, Christianson said.
The suspect's condition remains unknown. No update was given as of Friday morning.
"This is a tragic day for law enforcement and public safety," Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said. "Deputy Paris paid the ultimate price, sacrificing his life, while protecting and serving the citizens of Stanislaus County."
Paris, 53, was a 16-year veteran of the department. Officials say he is survived by his parents, a brother and two adult children.
The name of the second person killed in the shooting has not yet been released. Meanwhile, the standoff continues with SWAT teams still surrounding the complex.
Neighbors Yemen Zokari and Steven Gasterlum, who told the Modesto Bee they live with their baby two doors down from the suspect gunman, said they looked out the window when they heard gunshots Thursday morning.
They said they saw two men lying on the ground, one on his stomach and another on his back closer to the door of the house from where the shots came.
"There was another officer that was kneeling on the side of the house while they were laying there," Zokari said. "I think he was staying out of the way from being shot."
"We just felt so bad. We wanted to do something but you can't. What can you do? It's traumatizing to see them."
Christianson said he believed that his deputies did not return fire. He said deputy Paris paid the ultimate price while protecting the community.
"This is a tragic day for law enforcement and public safety," Christianson said.
The Red Cross opened a shelter at Prescott Church, a few blocks from the scene. Red Cross volunteers said 33 people decided to spend the night.
This story was originally published on KCRA.com and republished with permission.