DOUGLAS — A Douglas woman, her three children and their two dogs are unsure what’s next for them after their home was destroyed by a fire Saturday night.
According to Capt. Matt King, public information officer for the Douglas Fire Department, at 8:53 p.m. Douglas Fire was dispatched to a report of a fire at a residence in the 1100 block of Ninth Street.
“We arrived within four minutes,” King said. “Upon arrival we found heavy smoke and rapidly developing fire conditions. Crews were able to get water onto the fire in the main part of the house quickly, but the fire was also in the attic space. Construction features and damage to the house from the fire made getting to the fire in the attic a challenge. Large water streams from the ladder truck and the engine were used to extinguish the fire in the attic.”
King states that at the busiest point of the blaze the DFD had its two main fire engines, its ladder truck, three ambulances, and a chief’s vehicle on scene, along with 13 firefighter staff. Contrary to reports, Kings says outside fire departments were not called in to assist.
King reports the residents and their pets were able to get out of the home prior to fire department’s arrival.
Angie Diaz, owner of the house for the past 17 years, said she and her three children were home at the time watching television when they smelled smoke; her son went to investigate and found the back part of the house engulfed in flames, at which time they quickly exited the house with just the clothes on their backs.
“The house is not livable at this time,” King said. “The Red Cross was contacted for assistance.”
Diaz said the Red Cross has provided them with hotel vouchers for several days.
Crews remained on scene until noon Sunday monitoring for hot spots while trying to determine what started the blaze.
“The cause remains under investigation,” King said.
Diaz, who was still in a state of shock said Sunday when she spoke with the Herald/Review she does have insurance on the home but lost everything in the fire. Firefighters later entered the burned residence and managed to find Diaz’s severely charred purse, wallet and vehicle keys.
While the fire was raging neighbors on both sides of the burning home were evacuated as the DFD fought the roaring blaze, attempting to keep it from spreading to nearby structures. King reports those families were allowed to return to their homes around 11 p.m.
The fire broke out as Douglas High School was having its outdoor prom about six blocks away. Smoke from the blaze made its way over to the school, creating concern and speculation as to what was burning.