A portable heater thawing frozen cooking oil started a fire on Minturn Court left a man with smoke inhalation and damaged two houses Tuesday.
Rio Rancho Deputy Fire Chief Richard Doty said the owner of the shed and the first house called for help a little after 3 p.m. When crews arrived, the shed a couple of feet from the house in the side yard was engulfed in flames.
Doty said the fire was so hot that it spread into the house through the wall and under the roof, and damaged the side of the next-door neighbor’s house. “We’re fortunate crew was able to get a hold of this as quickly as they did,” he said.
Firefighters arrived in time to stop the blaze from encroaching further into the neighbor’s house. They knocked down the fire in the shed and the first house, having to get into the house to put out the fire in the attic.