Fire crews battle blaze at Zora Folley's home

Boxing great Zora Folley grew up in Chandler, Arizona. He battled Mohammed Ali in the 1960's, and Chandler Fire was called to the family's home Friday for a house fire.


"Very much so, very tough, I thought I was dreaming initially, but come to realize it was reality," said Zora Folley Junior.


"The harsh reality hit Folley Jr. before the sun came up. His childhood home, the home his legendary father built near Colorado and Folley Street was on fire.


"When I look at the house I think about the times we were growing up here, the good times we had, everybody at the park playing, having a good time, to see the situation now is kinda bad," he said.


Zora Folley nicknamed Bell was a prize heavyweight fighter who fought the big guys like Sonny Liston and Mohammed Ali, still known as Cassius Clay.


That bought took place on March 22, 1967 inside Madison Square Garden. 


Firefighters managed to save a photo of the event found hanging on the walls.


"There was a decent amount of fire in the back of the structure, but the majority of the residence had more smoke damage than anything else," said Captain Robert Isaacson, with Chandler Fire.


The city named a park after Folley, and it is located less than a mile from the family home. After his boxing career, Zora Folley served as a member of the Chandler City, a respected man in his community.


"My dad represented Chandler all over the world, whenever he went to fight he never said Arizona, he said Chandler, Arizona," said Folley Jr.


One of Folley's nine children who was living inside the home made it out ok. The damage will eventually be fixed, but the memories that survived will never be forgotten, just like Zora Folley.


Chandler Fire Investigators say the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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