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1/18/2013 10:03:00 PM
Improperly installed water heater sparks blaze; historic Prescott home destroyed
Ceiling-high stacks of papers hamper firefighting
Bo Woods/Courtesy photo
Bo Woods/Courtesy photo
Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

Prescott firefighters put out a blaze Friday morning sparked by an improperly installed water heater at a historic home that used to house tuberculosis patients.

At 7:03 a.m., firefighters answered a call in the 100 block of South Alto and saw flames inside the 500-square-foot home.

Firefighters tried to enter the home but could not because of "smoldering newspapers and other papers stacked in piles from the floor to the ceiling," so they knocked down the fire from the exterior of the home, said Wade Ward, Prescott firefighter and public information officer.

"There were newspapers in the home that dated back to the '70s," Ward said.

Firefighters had the fire under control by 7:30 a.m., but remained at the home until 1:30 p.m., clearing debris to make sure the fire did not start up again, Ward said.

The tenant was not in the home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured, Ward said.

The cause of the fire was a water heater improperly installed nearly 12 years ago in the home, Prescott Fire Division Chief and Fire Marshal Don Devendorf said.

"The water heater was underneath the house in the crawlspace," Ward said. "When the fire started, the flames didn't have much oxygen since so much was packed in the house that it crawled around the house."

Three Prescott Fire engine crews, a Central Yavapai Fire engine, two battalion chiefs, Prescott Police and Life Line Ambulance responded to the fire, Ward said.

The home was a total loss, Ward said. Devendorf estimated the value of the home at $70,000.

"A minute or two before 7 a.m., I looked across the street and a home there was on fire," said Bo Woods, a local radio show host.

Woods said he could see a glow through the home's windows, then heard car horns going off, which was odd for the residential and business area.

A neighbor who reported the fire to 911 told Woods that dispatchers said to go outside and honk a horn to warn neighbors of the danger.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Wuz Harquahala Peak

s'posta getta parmit?

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: resham mann

This sounds more like a problem 12 years ago with an improperly installed city building inspector.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: DUH HUH

Gee.. I installed mine about 12 years ago and it aint set my house on fire. Huh... maybe cause I installed it right!! A bad (dangerous) install can take years to reveal it's wicked nature. They don't always fail early on.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: HUH? Ok

"improperly installed 12 YEARS AGO" ???? ...does that REALLY make sense to you??? LOL*****

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