Mouse takes down house

Luciano Mares uses a garden hose to help the Fort Sumner Fire Department extinguish a fire Saturday at his house at 1137 Grove Street. Mares said he inadvertently started the fire when he tried to burn a mouse. (Staff photo: Andrew Chavez)

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer

Dry conditions throughout the region have resulted in numerous grass fires and several structure fires in recent weeks.

On Saturday, a Fort Sumner man’s home fell victim to a mouse fire.

Homeowner Luciano Mares said he caught a mouse inside his residence and discarded the creature in a pile of garden refuse he was burning on his property near the home.

“I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house,” he said.

All contents of the wooden home were destroyed, according to village Fire Chief Juan Chavez. Aside from the mouse, no injuries were reported.

Chavez said the fiery mouse ran from the burning leaves to below a window of the home. The fire spread up the window and throughout the house, he said.

A neighbor reported the fire to authorities. Fire and smoke were spewing out of the attic and the 81-year-old homeowner was trying to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose when firefighters arrived at the Grove Street home, Chavez said.

Three fire trucks and 13 firefighters from two departments had the fire out within two hours, Chavez said.

Now staying at a Fort Sumner motel, Mares said he had a problem with pesky mice coming into his home through little cracks.

“They had been coming into the house. Some were barely babies. I set some traps out and I caught one,” Mares said. Then he the threw the mini intruder into a pile of burning vegetation.

Because of the area’s windy and dry conditions, Chavez cautioned against burning leaves, as well as attempting to dispose of mice in the way Mares had.

“I’ve seen numerous house fires,” village Fire Department Capt. Jim Lyssy said, “but nothing as unique as this one.”