FARMINGTON — Firefighters on Friday evening extinguished a blaze at an abandoned house on Aztec's East Blanco Street.
Aztec Fire Chief Kevin Simpson said the building was completely engulfed when crews arrived shortly before 5 p.m. He said the house had been empty for years.
The abandoned house is located north of Aztec High School at 615 E. Blanco St.
Aztec Police Department Sgt. Mike Colson said firefighters quashed the fire in about 30 minutes. The cause is still under investigation.
Colson said no one was injured in the blaze, but flames moved close to other homes. Neighboring homes were evacuated, but they were not damaged, he said.
A lack of precipitation has caused concerns for firefighters in the area. In an article that ran in The Daily Times in February, officials predicted the dry weather could lead to a busy fire season.
Residents who lived near the home on East Blanco Street lined the streets on Friday to watch the flames. One of these spectators was Heather Stoz.
Stoz said she was on her way home from a veterinarian appointment with her dog when she saw emergency vehicles drive past her. She continued driving and saw smoke near the high school. Stoz, who lives on Villa Street near East Blanco Street, drove up her street and turned on Pollard Street, which connects Villa to East Blanco. From the connecting street, she took photos of the fire with her iPhone.
Stoz said she watched a fire truck drive up before she left, and the fire was soon doused. She praised the Aztec police and fire department for putting the fire out quickly and said they were fortunate there wasn't much wind.
For as long as Stoz can remember, the East Blanco Street house has been empty. She said it had no trespassing signs posted outside and was missing its windows and doors. Last fall, during the storms, a tree fell onto the house.
"There was no surprise when it went up fast," Stoz said of the fire.
She said fires are unusual in the neighborhood, but that house had been abandoned for so long that she thought it was fairly dry and easy to burn.
"I'm glad nothing else was hurt," she said.