Fri, Oct. 18

Fire burns Old Town home

An afternoon fire in Old Town Cottonwood claimed an old home, but no injuries were reported.

Fire Marshal Barbara Rice said the Cottonwood Fire Department was first alerted to the fire by a cell phone call about 1:22 p.m. She said that it appeared a grass fire spread to the back of the house on Fourth Street.

"It was a full-blown blaze by the time I got here," said neighbor Frances Duval, whose house is next door. She had just returned from work when she saw the flames. "It's very scary."

The house reportedly belongs to Bob Rothrock, who rents it out. Rice said no one was home and the house has no occupants at this time. The house is an older wood structure, possibly from the 1920s or '30s, Rice said. It was about 1,000-1,100 square feet with some add-ons.

Cory Brady, who also has a home in Old Town, and his friend David Young saw the smoke and at first thought it was Brady's home. When they arrived at the scene, they borrowed a neighbor's hose and started spraying the roof of Duval's house to protect it from the blaze next door.

"Pretty nice young guys to do that," said Jay Shipwash, a friend of Duval.

Firefighters arrived to find the back of the Rothrock house fully involved. Besides Cottonwood, firefighting apparatus were brought in from Jerome and Verde Valley fire departments. Firefighters accessed two fire hydrants and had water tenders in use.

Another small brush fire was sparked nearby, which Young and Brady sprayed down and firefighters quickly extinguished.

Rice said the fire department is still determining the cause of the original blaze. It is only a preliminary determination that it started in the yard and spread to the house. The grass also held a lot of debris such as heavy-timber piles of railroad ties.

Rice estimated it took an hour and a half to put out the blaze and longer to kill the hot spots.

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