Fire claims home of couple

By Tony Parra

An elderly couple will be without their home this Christmas after a fire burned down their two-bedroom house late Wednesday evening.
Portales Fire Department fire fighters responded to a call at 10:44 p.m. on Wednesday of a fire at the residence of 288 South Roosevelt Road U. Portales Fire Marshal Mike Running said the residents, Bud and Joyce Jones, were not in the red brick house when the fire took place. No one was injured in the fire. Running said they had been gone for a couple of days.
Running said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but that one of the possibilities is a space heater located in the kitchen.
“We will still need to interview the home owners, take a look at the wall which burned down by the space heater and get an idea of what was in the area (for the purpose of) ruling out potential causes,” Running said. “The fire appeared to start from the location of the space heater, which was on a wooden floor.”
Running said Bud Jones was staying in Lubbock for health reasons and found out about the fire today. Running said Joyce Jones was staying with family members in Clovis.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at 10:51 p.m. and contained the fire by 11:18 p.m. Running said although they received a call at 10:44 p.m. from a neighbor, the fire had already been taking place for a while.
“The structure was unstable by the time firefighters arrived at the scene,” Running said. “The location of the fire was in the middle of the house. The interior of the house was burning before anyone noticed. The guys got to the scene and defended the (neighboring) buildings.”
The neighboring buildings which Bud Jones owns house more than 400 roosters, according to Larry Taylor, who helps take care of the roosters.
“The pump shed and incubators are 10 feet away,” Taylor said. “Luckily, nothing happened to the roosters.”
Taylor said the Jones couple is in their late 60s. According to Taylor, electricians will restore power to the buildings where the roosters are housed, today.
Running said the Taylor received calls from friends and neighbors who wanted to help take care of the roosters.
“They’re (Jones) very fortunate they were not in the house,” Taylor said. “I thank God.”
Taylor said Bud Jones has been raising the roosters and participating in rooster fights for a long time. Taylor said his step-dad taught him about rooster fighting when Taylor was six years old.
“Bud is one of the best in the business,” Taylor said about rooster fighting. “I’m proud to say I’m a rooster fighter. It’s legal in New Mexico and it’s part of the culture and tradition. He’s (Bud) won awards for rooster fighting.”
Running said firefighters had to return to the scene Thursday afternoon to put out hot spots. He said a small fire rekindled in the front part of the building and firefighters put it out.
“I really appreciate the firefighters and all of the work they have done,” Taylor said. “I called them a couple of times and they came out each time to make sure the fire was put out.”
Running said the previous fire which Portales fire fighters put out was on Dec. 10 in a mobile home. Running said the cause of the fire was a space heater.
“Space heaters are only meant to provide a temporary source of heat,” Running said. “Space heaters need to be a good distance away from a wall. People need to make sure to have something noncombustible underneath the space heaters. Space heaters have a lot of watts of power and they are dangerous if they are continuously in one spot.”