Flames Consume Near Century-Old Home; One Hospitalized

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An almost century-old home was destroyed in a Johnson fire Saturday afternoon. A man is reported to have been in the home when the fire started by neighbors, but got out before emergency responders arrived at 5783 Kell Road.

"He was just about to drop down to the ground," Michael Henson, a neighbor, said. "Then, I looked a little bit closer and the smoke was coming out of the house and his skin was turning black from the smoke."

The man lived at the home with the nine-year homeowner, Liz Cantrell, who said the man's name was Josh Hoffman. He was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation, according to officials.

Cantrell works in the mall and was leaving work when she saw smoke coming from the area where her house is. She said she checked her phone and her roommate left a message from the hospital to say the house was on fire.

Cantrell said Hoffman worked a night shift and would normally sleep during the day.

"He said he just woke up with a loud sound, maybe it was the smoke detector and he just got out of the house," she said.

There was a dog in the home, 10-year-old Joy-Toy Cantrell, who made it out OK. Two people rented a R.V. for the winter, but were not there at the time of the fire, according to Cantrell.

The house was originally built in 1919, according to Cantrell.

"It was a one room cottage and they built on to it a couple of times and then I bought it and remodeled it in 2004," she said.

The Johnson Fire Department had a lot of assistance from surrounding fire agencies: Fayetteville, Springdale, Tontitown and Farmington.

"We saw fire coming out of all the doors and windows," Asst. Chief Todd Andrews said. "The first in-truck company started to make an initial attack. They weren’t able to get inside."

The fire spread from the house into a nearby field. Brush trucks, a humvee-like vehicle, were used to put out the flames. Andrews said the fire was put out in about 35 minutes, but fire fighters still needed to work for hours to put out the hot-spots. The home's roof was made of sheet metal, which needed to be removed to get the heat out.

Andrews said the home was a total loss. Cantrell said the house was insured.

The Washington County Fire Marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire. Cantrell said she hasn't used the wood-stove this winter and didn't have a space heater, but didn't know if her roommate did.

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