Investigators rule south Phoenix house fire was accidental

- There's new information on the Phoenix house fire that seriously injured a 75-year-old grandmother on December 9th. Dorothy Holden remains hospitalized in the burn unit at Maricopa Integrated Health Systems. Three children in the home were not seriously hurt.

According to Phoenix Fire Department investigators, the fire at the south Phoenix home is accidental in nature. They cannot say it was a child who started the fire, but there are indications that may be the case.

From the street, you can't immediately tell anything is wrong with this house near 20th Street and Southern, but look closer and you'll see the charred chairs on the front porch, the burn marks around the front door, and realize something terrible happened here.

"The little girl said there were two more kids in there. I said where are they.. couldn't get in because of the smoke," said Lawrence Stone, a neighbor.

Stone described the panic of Friday afternoon when his 75-year-old neighbor's house caught fire. The grandmother and two little kids were inside. He ran to help, spraying water on the flames, but says the smoke kept him from going inside.

"When you see it.. like man, I can help when you see it on TV, you can just go in there.. it was just so difficult to get in there.. it hurt me that I couldn't get in there," he said.

Miraculously as Phoenix firefighters searched the house for an all-clear, they found a 2-year-old and 4-year-old hiding in a back bedroom closet, not seriously hurt. An 11-year-old girl had escaped the fire unharmed. It is Dorothy the homeowner who Stone says ran back inside to look for the kids who was the most seriously injured.

"Grandmother came out.. you could tell she's been burned," he said.

Holden remains at the Maricopa County burn unit. Investigators are saying the fire is accidental in nature. The Fire Department says it does have information that children in the house have played with fire in the past.


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