Abandoned house burns in Calexico

arson suspected

February 21, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — An abandoned house was destroyed by a suspected arson here Tuesday in the second blaze to tear through the site in two years.

The call came into the Calexico Fire Department around 4 p.m.

When firefighters arrived at 420 Washington St., the house was engulfed in flames. It took firefighters 20 minutes to get the fire under control, Calexico Fire Department Capt. Rudy Valdez said.

No one was inside the abandoned structure and no injuries were reported.

It took the efforts of 11 full-time firefighters and seven volunteers to finally put out the fire around 6 p.m., Valdez said.

"Our main concerns were the two (neighboring) houses, one to the east and one to the west," Valdez said.

Those two homes were in danger because of the fire's strong radiant heat and the possibility of spreading flames, Valdez said.


Before firefighters arrived, a reporter from this newspaper saw a citizen with a garden hose spraying the house to the east of the fire to protect it. The citizen pulled back when firefighters arrived.

Neighbors were not asked to evacuate their homes, Valdez said. Because the burning house had no electricity, gas or other utilities, authorities think the fire was arson, Valdez said.

The Calexico Police Department also responded to the fire and maintained a perimeter for firefighters, police Sgt. Armando Marquez said.

This newspaper reported a fire at the address in October 1999 when the house was occupied by an elderly couple.

The 1999 fire, which caused more than $80,000 in damages, badly burned half of the structure and was thought to have been started by a faulty water heater.

Staff Writer Kelly Rausch can be reached at 337-3441.

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