Local home lost in fire

"We were dispatched to an unknown type fire, and as we were rolling out the County Dispatch received several more calls of the same location," said Raymond Fire Chief Todd Storzyk.

The house was vacant at the time, and the cause is still under investigation. No persons were hurt during the fire.

"Initial crews that responded reported that the flames went about 30 feet out of the windows and threatening homes on the back side of the property."

Police restricted that intersection along Park Avenue, and re-routed some traffic as the fire crews worked the blaze. Neighbors and witnesses at the scene reported embers floating out as far as three-blocks.

"When all crews arrived we went right into protecting the exposures, and within 20 minutes we were able to contain the fire.

Homeowner Tom Arnold was at the scene and stated that the house had been vacant for at least the past 10 years.

"My parents use to stay at in the home, but as they got older it got to big for them. I relocated them to a double-wide on the other side of the house. They had kept some antiques in the house over the years," said Arnold.

The antiques have long been gone; mostly due to thief of the property during that vacant period. Homeless people, vandals and those looking for anything of value had also broken into the home on several occasions.

"We just could not keep people out," said Arnold.

Even as the property was becoming an issue for the owner, because of the continual break-ins, the memories will never be lost as family members visited the site the following day.

In partial disbelief, members of the family took time to assess the damage and if anything was salvageable, and from the appearance of the structure it appeared that the fire was concentrated in the kitchen area, moved up the staircase and took the majority of the second floor.

"The structure had a metal roof. The fire was not venting and kept the heat inside. Structures with metal roofs are very hard to fight," said Strozyk.

With fire crews at the ready outside, making sure the fire did not spread to adjacent homes, they had to wait for the opportunity to finally extinguish the fire.

"We could not send anyone inside because of the type of fire that it was. Once the fire caught the roof the house opened up and allowed the gases to escape. Then we could battle it down," said the chief.

"There was not a lot left inside the home," said Arnold, "I guess we will have to take it down."

The Pacific County Sheriff's Office has the incident under investigation as to the cause of the fire.