Fire destroys vacant house
January 6, 2004
An explosion woke residents along the New Mexico 267 highway in the early hours on Tuesday as a fire demolished a vacant house along the highway
Sue Durham, neighbor of the C. L. Wilhoit residence, called 911 and said she heard an explosion at 4:30 a.m. and saw the fire from the bathroom. Durham stated on the fire report that she felt the explosion and it woke her out of her bed.
“We got there and the attic was involved,” Battalion Chief Jesse Mowrer said. “It had been burning for quiet a while. Most of the structure was gone before we got there. There was some furniture and possessions inside the building, but nobody was living there.”
The Portales and Floyd Fire Departments arrived at 4:42 a.m. and the fire was controlled by 6 a.m.
The single-story structure with the attic/crawl was engulfed in flames when the Portales Fire Department arrived there.
“We can pinpoint the start of the fire coming from the Northeast corner of the property and quickly traveled to the attic based on part of the investigation,” Mowrer said.
The cause of the fire — which caused roughly $65,000 of property loss and contents — is still under investigation. The home was vacant and condemned following a flood a few months before, according to the fire department report. Mowrer said Fire Chief Steve Beaty and Fire Marshall Mike Running will be investigating the cause of the fire.