Wells couple's home a total loss after Wednesday night fire

Wells fire submitted on See It, Snap It, Send It.
Wells fire submitted on See It, Snap It, Send It.
Alto house fire
Alto house fire

WELLS, TX (KTRE) - A Wells man escaped a house fire unharmed but lost all his belongings in a fire Wednesday night.

According to Fire Chief Robert Kalka, Jose Zapata said he heard a noise in the back of the house on Homer Street and saw the fire had started.

"I heard some noise, and that's what I went back to check, and the fire was already going," said Zapata.

Fire personnel arrived around 7:30 p.m., but the blaze was out of control by then.

Zapata said he even tried extinguishing the flames before fire crews arrived.

"I tried to get some, put some water on it, but it was too late, I think. The flames, they came fast," said Zapata.

Kalka said even though this is the second time a fire has started at the same house, there is no reason to think there was a suspicious cause to the fire.

The first fire occurred about a year ago, and fire crews were able to extinguish it rather quickly.

"Electrical strip malfunctioned and caused a small fire in the front room and caused some damage to a window," said Cherokee County Fire Investigator, Jack White.

However, the Cherokee County fire marshal is investigating the cause.

"We sometimes forget that we get warm from a fire because of the radiant heat, because the heat that comes out to the sides. And, in the same fashion, that same heat's going to impact other combustible areas," said White.

Alto firefighters were called to a fire Thursday morning on Avenue B, after John Compton, a retired firefighter, said he had started a fire on the upstairs floor of a vacant house next door to his sister's house. Compton stays with his sister and said he had started it to try to stay warm.

"I started some boxes, cardboard boxes, I was trying to keep warm. I had a heater up there, an electric heater, but I was cold," said Compton.

He said he decided to put the fire out and threw sheet rock on it, then went back into his sister's house, next door to start a fire in a fireplace. It was then a neighbor saw the fire in the vacant house and called firefighters to the scene.

The Alto fire caused damage to the upstairs floor of the vacant house.

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