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A house fire that broke out in south Roswell Wednesday afternoon was caused by a resident using a propane torch within his bathroom attempting to thaw out pipes, the Roswell Fire Department’s fire marshal has determined.

According to the RFD’s public information officer, Todd Wildermuth, firefighters responded to the house fire call around 2:40 p.m. in the area just north of South Elm Avenue and East Wildy Street.

The RFD described the home as a complete loss, also noting an outbuilding had also been destroyed.

“There was a male in the home who escaped from the fire, but was transported to a hospital for observation due to smoke inhalation,” Wildermuth said. “Fire crews were able to protect a neighboring home that was threatened.”

Later Wednesday evening, Wildermuth had received further information from RFD’s fire marshal, Matt Miller.

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“The resident earlier today was using a propane torch to thaw pipes in the bathroom, during which he caught the wall on fire,” Wildermuth said. “He thought he adequately extinguished the wall fire, but the flames erupted again later in the day, bringing about the house fire.”

While the RFD did not have any immediate information on possible rescuers, Bertha Gonzalez, who watched the smoke and flames from afar with her family, said her father, Jose Galindo, and another good Samaritan heard a man cry out for help.

“To what he told me,” Gonzalez said, “They were coming (north,) walking and then they heard a voice saying, ‘Help,’ so (Galindo) and the friend went into the house.

“But they couldn’t like, pull the door — it was like too hard, so they ended up breaking two windows I believe, and then they pulled the guy out. While they were doing that — all the flames and everything were coming, and that’s (how the smoke) went, into their lungs. That’s why they’re going into the hospital.”

Gonzalez stood aside with her family as RFD medics sat down Galindo to check his vitals. An ambulance later arrived to take the good Samaritan to a local hospital for an additional medical check.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at

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