One killed in Fort Sumner fire

CNJ staff

An early-morning fire Tuesday just east of Fort Sumner took the life of one man and left a house in ruins.

According to De Baca County Sheriff Gary Graves, a fire broke out at 3 a.m. at the Larry Petty residence. The 56-year-old Fort Sumner man died at the scene, Graves said.

Two other occupants at the house were able to escape the fire uninjured, officials said.

“We are working closely with the fire marshal and we are investigating (the cause),” Graves said.

Petty was pronounced dead just after 5 a.m., Graves said.
“We’re still investigating it, and we are still treating it as a crime scene and working through the crime scene,” Graves said.

Chief Juan Chavez of the Fort Sumner Fire Department said Petty’s body was discovered after the fire was extinguished and the east wall was removed from the house.

Close to 20 fire personnel from multiple departments responded to the scene, Graves said, as well as police units from three departments and an ambulance.

The sheriff described it as a “very hot fire and very large fire.”

Petty’s body will be sent to the Office of the Medical Investigator to determine the cause of death, Graves said.
“Mr. Petty is a fine gentleman,” the sheriff said. “He’s loved by many and will be missed by many.”

Chavez said it had been about a year since the last structure fire in De Baca County, and there hadn’t been a death caused by fire since the late 1970s.

De Baca County News Editor Scot Stinnett contributed to this report.