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Fire Destroys One Of Fort Worth's Oldest Homes

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - One of Fort Worth's oldest homes is damaged beyond repair.

A fire ripped through the Dillow House, in the 3200 block of East Rosedale Street in Fort Worth. The blaze was so intense that firefighters say they didn't even go inside to fight the fire.

"I seen big ol' flames everywhere," recalled Eduardo Valdez, who lives nearby. "Smell woke me up so I came outside to see what was burning."

Firefighters say their priority was putting out those flames and making sure the fire didn't spread to nearby homes.

"I thought my house was going to catch on fire," Valdez said.  "I was thinking about coming and getting the waterhose and spraying my yard and everything."

Dillow House 1
(credit: CBS 11 NEWS)

Wood from the house is charred, there is fire tape everywhere and fallen bricks sit near the front yard. In just seconds witnesses say heavy smoke poured out of the vacant house that's been around for 101 years.

The Dillow House is on the Texas Wesleyan University campus. The university had been trying to demolish the house and Historic Fort Worth was working to save it.

"I was just so sad," explains Jerre Tracy Executive Director of Historic Fort Worth, "We rested a lot of hope for the future of that house and conversations were beginning to happen."

The house was vacant and there had been fires there in the past.

"A fire can happen in any vacant building this is a reason why if you own a building you should keep it occupied and it's happened for one that held so much promise," Tracy said.

The university had crews out Monday morning putting up a fence around the house, so no one could go near it. Officials with the fire department say the house is a total loss.

"No one wanted to see the house go out this way," TWU President of Communications John Veilleux said sadly. "It's unclear what that means at the moment we will have to wait and see." Veilleux says he's grateful no one was hurt and no other homes were impacted.

Fire investigators say at this point they are not sure what caused the fire and won't know for some time.

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