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Fairway housefire leaves mother, daughters homeless

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By Carol A. Clark

As fire burned under the floor, thick white smoke poured from the front windows and through the roof of a home at 4333-B Fairway Tuesday morning. The home’s occupant, Bobbie Logan, had already left for work and her two daughters for school.Off-duty Santa Fe Sheriff’s Deputy Julie York lives down the street and said she was driving by and noticed smoke coming from the side of the home.“I called it in and went to the front door to see if anyone was inside,” York said. “The door was hot. That’s when Los Alamos Police Lt. Scott Mills arrived and we went around to the rear of the home and kicked in the back door. We saw a dog lying in the kitchen and brought it outside but it was already dead.”Mills said they contacted Logan at her job. She confirmed no one was in the home.“We also called the school to make sure her daughters were in class,” Mills said.York called in the fire to the Consolidated Dispatch Center (CDC) at 11:22 a.m. and the first engines arrived on scene at 11:27 a.m., according to dispatch reports. The Los Alamos Fire Department threw everything they could at the fire in an effort to minimize damage.Four engines, a rescue unit and some 20 firefighters in masks connected to oxygen tanks carrying axes, chain saws and rip tools descended on the home, which is half of a duplex. With just a mere wall separating the two homes, firefighters did everything possible to keep the other side safe. They were successful.Mills praised them for working quickly and methodically, which kept the fire from spreading to other homes and surrounding trees.“If the fire caught that back tree on fire it could have spread to trees all the way down the block,” Mills said.Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Mike Thompson said containment occurred quickly.“The challenge was that the fire was in the floor,” he said.“We knocked it down within one minute of entry and began search and rescue procedures,” said Firefighter IVT Jerry Adair who was the first firefighter to enter the home. “There was active fire in the living room and I’m really proud of all the guys for the great job they did here today.”LAFD Lt. Jason Lopez said most fire damage was concentrated around the heating system.“Then it turned into a room and contents fire,” Lopez said. “The good thing is there were no injuries, everyone did what they were supposed to do without exception.”Deputy Fire Chief Doug Tucker said preliminary findings indicate the fire started with the home’s in-floor heating system.“It’s under investigation but appears to be limited to the one side of the duplex,” he said. “There’s extreme damage to the home and its contents. This is a good time for everyone to get their heating systems checked along with smoke alarms and to have a chimney sweep clean fireplace flues. This is the time of year people begin adding to their electrical loads with holiday lights and caution should be taken by everyone.”Los Alamos County personnel and Los Alamos police officers and detectives also assisted at the scene.A clearly emotional Logan stood across the street and watched firefighters battle to save her home as the white smoke turned dark gray. She was comforted by neighbors.Duplex owner John Courtright arrived and stood somberly observing the final mopping up at the scene.Thompson said Tuesday’s fire is what firefighters train for - to fight structure fires. He also addressed a more difficult side of their work.“Anytime anyone suffers a loss like this, it’s devastating and our firefighters really feel for the families,” Thompson said. The home’s contents are considered a total loss, he said, adding that the LAFD is working to get the family help including contacting the Red Cross on their behalf.Los Alamos Red Cross Volunteer Barbara Carlos said this morning that she was on scene within 15 minutes of getting the call. “We provided the family with three nights lodging, clothes and food,” Carlos said. “We provide the initial emergency services and then provide referrals to other agencies. In this case they lost everything and will obviously have other needs.”To help or to become a Red Cross volunteer, call the Santa Fe Red Cross at 424-1611.