Burglary investigated as possible cause
by Carla Noah Stutsman
Fire gutted a home in the 900 block of Dunaway Lane Saturday night, May 25, and a burglary at the home earlier the same day may have played a role in the cause of the blaze.
Azle Fire Marshal Kenny Wilson said a state Deputy Fire Marshal was at the scene late Tuesday afternoon, May 28, with a canine looking for evidence.
For more than an hour-and-a-half after the fire was reported at about 10:40 p.m., neighbors, firefighters and police agonized over whether a young man who graduated from Azle High School in May 2012 might be inside the burning home.
The young man’s vehicle was parked in the driveway, and a friend who arrived at the scene to check on him was unable to reach him by phone.
Police were eventually able to contact the homeowner – the young man’s father – who was away on a camping trip. The father reported to police his son should be at home, but was not answering the father’s phone calls, either.
However, excited neighbors called out as the teenager walked up to the scene, unable to drive up due to the large number of emergency vehicles lining both Dunaway Lane and Oak Street to fight the fire.
Wilson explained that while he could say with some certainty the fire originated in the dining room of the home, the cause was still listed as “undetermined.”
However, on Tuesday, new evidence was brought to light that suggested a burglary may have taken place at the home sometime after 5 p.m. the evening of the blaze.
“Whether the burglar or burglars started the fire to cover up the burglary or accidentally started it – we just don’t know yet,” Wilson said, adding that he expected to send samples from the rubble remaining of the home off for testing. “The Azle Police Department has taken a burglary report and they are investigating that aspect of the incident.”
Wilson estimated damage to the structure exceeded $50,000, with more than $40,000 in losses to the contents.
“I’d say that’s a complete loss,” he said.
Firefighters from Azle, Lake Worth, Briar, Silver Creek, La Junta, Eagle Mountain and River Oaks responded to help put out the blaze.