Neighbor describes scary scene as flames lick night sky (Video)
By BY JENNIFER PREYSS - JLPREYSS@VICAD.COM
Feb. 21, 2013 at 8 a.m.
Updated Feb. 21, 2013 at 8:22 p.m.
GANADO - A backyard swing and concrete birdbath are all that remain of a single-family Ganado home after a fire ravaged the structure late Wednesday night.
Sharon Hicks, an adjacent neighbor on East Rogers Street, was awakened by what she described as loud explosions about 11:30 p.m. and raced to her living room to investigate the blasts.
About 20 feet from her window, an orange and yellow blaze engulfed her neighbor's four-bedroom ranch house.
Terrified, Hicks dialed 911 and scurried outside where she and her husband made sure no one was in the home.
"After we realized there was no one home, we made sure all the neighbors were up and knew about the fire," Hicks said.
Hicks said she observed north-blowing winds agitating the flames, puffing kindled embers across the darkened sky.
Ganado and Edna firefighters appeared on scene within minutes of her call, and they spent more than two hours extinguishing the flames with water.
"There wasn't really anything the firefighters could do but keep the other houses from catching on fire," Hicks said, mentioning the devastation of the entirety of the home.
Ganado Fire Marshal Bernard Scott said the start of the fire remains under investigation.
"No other residences were damaged, but the home is a total loss," he said.
Patty Fleming Cunningham, who lives across the street, said she, too, was awakened by the late-night flames roaring outside her window.
More than 20 years ago, when she was pregnant with her first child, she was the victim of a house fire. She recalled losing everything and remembered the difficulty of starting over from scratch.
"I was standing at the window last night ready to grab my pictures if our home caught fire from the embers. I was so scared I would lose everything again," she said.
The home was being rented by Angie Lauer, who was out of town on a business trip, Cunningham said.
"I didn't really know (Lauer) that well, but I'd see her and wave at her when she drove by," Cunningham said. "I know she's been contacted, and she knows about the fire. I'm just glad she wasn't home."
Lauer's home was listed for sale by LaLa Realty, with an asking price of $118,000.
Cunningham said her 22-year-old daughter, Allyson Nairn, was in the process of being approved for mortgage to purchase the property.
The Advocate was unable to contact the homeowner or Lauer. It is unknown if the structure was insured.
Hicks and Cunningham said they're thankful the fire didn't spread, and that no one was home when it caught fire.
"Everyone is safe and no one was injured. All the other stuff can be replaced. That's what's important," Hicks said.