Residents on Maria Lane in Taos crowded around a neighbor's house as firefighters fought to control flames and smoke in a kitchen that caught fire Monday afternoon (Dec. 2) while the home's owner was out of town.
"I saw the flames coming out of the kitchen, so we called immediately," said one neighbor. "We called the fire department, and they got lost, so it took them 20 to 25 minutes to get here."
Taos Police officers were the first to arrive in the small neighborhood on the west side of Taos around 3 p.m. They used standard fire extinguishers to fight the flames, but to little effect.
Firefighters arrived several minutes later, shut off a gas line to the home and used water hoses to put out the flames within less than 45 minutes. They then used hooks to tear down damaged or destroyed parts of the home as smoke continued to billow from the scorched kitchen.
An ambulance also idled on a nearby street, but first responders said that no one was inside the home when it caught fire and called medics away after putting out the flames.
"The owner is on her way back from Las Vegas, New Mexico," the neighbor said.
She arrived shortly after 4 p.m. to meet with first responders to discuss what might have caused the fire, which will be investigated by the New Mexico State Fire Marshall's Office.
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