Fast action contains house fire

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A neighbor reacts quickly to help thwart further damage

By Carol A. Clark

No one was home when a neighbor spotted smoke billowing from beneath a two-story home not far from Los Alamos High School at about 3 p.m. Monday.


Fire Marshal Michael Thompson credits the man for being observant and calling 911.

“He tried to put out the fire but then noticed more fire coming from the crawl space underneath the home and immediately called 911,” Thompson said. “His quick action helped keep the fire from spreading.”
Los Alamos firefighters responded to 1735 Questa St., and were able to keep the residence intact, but extensive smoke did permeate the structure.

Because the origin of the fire was in concealed spaces under the floor and within the lower walls of the home, firefighters had to be particularly aggressive to keep the fire from spreading through the home, Thompson said.

“We’re very fortunate to have well-trained staff who worked effectively to preserve the assets of this home as much as possible,” Thompson said. “Three of our firefighters live in the neighborhood, one was on duty in White Rock but the other two were home and pitched in, in a supportive role. This is not unusual, in fact it’s happened several times. Off-duty firefighters are a very valuable asset.”

Los Alamos County Building Official Chris Williams arrived at the scene and will work with the family and the insurance company to ensure all damage is identified and repaired.

“Often times in a fire, the complete extent of damage may not be apparent so it’s really great that Chris Williams steps in to assist families in this way,” Thompson said. “We also contacted the Red Cross to assist the family.”

The cause remains under investigation, Thompson said, adding that fire crews mopped up at about 7:30 p.m. and placed boards over the windows before leaving the home.