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3:38 AM Wed, Sept. 19th

Mt. Vernon structure fire kills woman

PRESCOTT – One woman died Monday morning in a fire that damaged part of an apartment home on N. Mt. Vernon Street.

Prescott Fire Department (PFD) Capt. Jay Fillingim said the call came in around 9:16 a.m. Monday. One PFD engine, two PFD ladder trucks, a PFD battalion chief and a Central Yavapai Fire District (CYFD) engine responded to the fire in the 100 block of N. Mt. Vernon Street.

The three-story wood building consists of nine apartments, six of which house occupants. Fillingim said smoke was showing when firefighters arrived.

Any time firefighters must enter a burning structure, a Rapid Intervention Crew, or RIC team, joins in to provide extra help to the base engines.

All but two of the building's residents had evacuated by the time firefighters arrived. They rescued one man from a second-story bedroom and had that level of the building clear by 9:36 a.m.

By 9:46 a.m., they'd checked the rest of the building and found one woman dead on the first floor. Fillingim said firefighters are not sure what the cause of her death is and PFD and Prescott Police Department investigators will investigate that and the cause of the fire.

Though Fillingim said fires in Victorian-era buildings like the one that burned Monday "typically are hard to control," he said, "the crews did an outstanding job and were able save the majority of the building."

Many older buildings don't have fire stops between floors, and some are insulated with newspaper or sawdust, which adds fuel to a fire, Fillingim said.

Firefighters contained Monday's fire to two of the building's apartments, though the rest of the building sustained smoke damage.

Trauma Intervention Program and Red Cross volunteers helped survivors find food and lodging, and since the fire scene is under investigation, firefighters went in and collected necessary items for the temporarily displaced residents.

Contact the reporter at heller@prescottaz.com