A house fire at 370 Sonoita Ave. was caused by an exposed electric wire. Photo by Ike Isakson

On October 28 2018 at 1:47 a.m. the Fire Department received a call from 366 Sonoita Avenue regarding a fire next door at 370 Sonoita Avenue. The first fire engine arrived at 1:55 a.m. The fire crew immediately took care of the perimeters and another two trucks arrived at 2:05 a.m. The Patagonia Fire Department then called the Sonoita Fire Station for more support as the house was completely “involved” in a fire. The fire was suppressed
at 2:45 a.m. and the site was cleared up by 5:00 a.m.

Patagonia and Sonoita firefighters battled the fire, which destroyed this home in Patagonia. Photo by Ike Isakson

Emily Cooper and her two children, who rented the house, were not at home during this incident. Fire Chief Ike Ikason said the neighbor was alerted by her dog barking in the middle of the night. She promptly called 911.

Isakson said that “the most important thing to keep in working order are smoke detectors.” If the Cooper family had been home, the smoke detectors would have alerted them of the fire long before it reached such a dangerous level.

The other important safety reminder from this fire is that the fire hydrants in town are often in the corner of the alleys. Make sure if you leave home that you keep an easy access to all areas of the house. The Cooper home had a six-foot fence with a locked gate into their backyard, ultimately causing the fire crew to use the neighbors’ fence to get to the
hydrant. A fire crew will do what they can to access an area but prefer not to damage property.

Isakson said that during their investigation they determined the cause of the fire was electrical damage. There was an exposed wire going through the dryer machine, which had filled up with water. This caused the electric box to overheat and eventually led to the fire. Isakson said that most houses do not have exposed wires like the one this house had. However, it is another important reminder to be careful with wiring in and around the house.

The Cooper family’s insurance company came on Oct. 31, 2018 and confirmed that the cause of the fire was electrical.

The Patagonia Fire Department hosted a donation drive for the Cooper family for two days, while Emily Cooper’s sister Iris Sota started a GoFundMe campaign online with the goal of raising $1500. Within a day the GoFundMe campaign had met its goal, and has raised $5175 to date.