Man returns to Mesa home only to see he's lost everything

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- The owner of a house that burned to the ground in unincorporated Mesa arrived at his home early Wednesday morning only to find that he had lost everything.

Walter David Ford had spent the night at a friend's house and when he returned to his home of the last 30 years, he found the structure destroyed and his belongings mostly a charred pile of ashes.

Ford was understandably heartbroken and said he lost everything in the fire.

The fire broke out about midnight, and flames could be seen "miles away" and moved rapidly through the structure, said Colin Williams of the Rural-Metro Fire Department.

Fire crews said the cause of the fire was still being investigated.

Ford lived alone in the house in the area of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway and McDowell Road.

Williams said there was conflicting information as to whether the man was home, but after two searches through the charred remains, no body was found in the rubble and Ford showed up a short time later.

The flames could be seen for miles, and neighbors said they heard a loud boom come from the house during the fire.

The roof and walls of the house collapsed before fire crews from Mesa and Rural-Metro were able to put the fire out and the home was a total loss, Williams said.

He said it appeared the fire started in the middle of the structure, in the area of the kitchen.

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MESA, Ariz. -- Fire officials said the owner of a house that burned to the ground in unincorporated Mesa early Wednesday morning was not home at the time.

The fire broke out at about midnight. Flames could be seen "miles away" and moved rapidly through the structure, said Colin Williams of the Rural-Metro Fire Department.

Fire crews said the cause of the fire was not known.

The man lived alone in the house in the area of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway and McDowell Road, neighbors said. There was one vehicle in the garage of the home, but neighbors said the man owned more than one vehicle.

One neighbor said the owner is retired and frequently travels, and that a friend had unsuccessfully tried to reach him on his cellphone for the past two days.

Williams said there was conflicting information as to whether the man was home. It was later determined that the man was not home when the fire started.

Other neighbors said they heard a loud boom come from the house during the fire.

The roof and some walls of the house collapsed before fire crews from Mesa and Rural-Metro were able to put the fire out and the home was a total loss, Williams said.

He said it appeared the fire started in the middle of the structure, where the kitchen was.