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2-alarm Fire Levels Vacant 2-story Residence - 8100 block of 12th Fairway Lane
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Arson investigators are looking into a 2-alarm fire that leveled a vacant 2-story residence in the 8100 block of 12th Fairway Lane, in the Atascocita subdivision of Pinehurst, around 5:30 a.m. Oct. 20. According to fire investigator Dean Hensley of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office Arson Division, an arson dog brought to the scene did not indicate the presence of an accelerant such as gasoline or other flammable liquids. “The fire may have started upstairs near the attic, close to an air conditioning unit,” Hensley said. Bob Kelshaw, spokesman for the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department said the entire house was engulfed in flames when fire fighters arrived six minutes after the initial alarm sounded. The department immediately requested a second alarm, summoning the assistance of fire fighters from Houston, Huffman and Porter. Jim McIntire, who lives next door, experienced a harsh awakening when police pounded on his door and told him to evacuate, afraid the fire might spread to neighboring homes. “I was sound asleep and hadn’t heard a thing, but when someone beats on your door that early in the morning, you know it’s not the preacher,” McIntire said. “I was a little concerned at first, seeing flashlights shining through the front door; but then I saw it was the police and they told me to get out, the house next door is on fire.” McIntire said the house had been vacant for a long time before investors purchased the foreclosed property and began making repairs. Prior to the investors’ remodeling efforts, he said, the residence was in utter disrepair. “The house was nasty,” McIntire said. “People would be living in the garage, coming and going. My understanding is the mother and father moved out and their son remained behind. It became kind of a crack house. I hope it was well insured and they’ll come back and rebuild it right.” Tammy Williford lives across the street. She said the investors who bought the home had been working for about six months to fix up the house. “They’ve slowly but surely progressed and they’ve come a long way,” Williford said. “They have put a lot of hard work and money into the house already; just put in a beautiful new front door. I feel sorry for them.” Authorities said no injuries were reported and neighboring houses suffered no damage. Arson investigators are currently listing the cause of the fire as undetermined and will continue their investigation. The flames were extinguished by 6 a.m., Kelshaw said, but fire fighters remained at the scene until 9 a.m. to monitor and prevent flare-ups of possible spot fires.

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