Longtime Presidio resident dies in fire

PRESIDIO – A man is deceased after his residence caught on fire Thursday evening in Presidio.

Arturo Brito, 65, was inside a small rock house on Anderson Street behind the Dollar Tree, officials said. Mr. Brito was a Presidio native. Details are currently scarce, but the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office, and an autopsy has been ordered to determine cause of death.

Presidio police chief Jose Cabezuela had no information about the incident, but Presidio Fire Chief Saul Pardo said the call came in at 7:30pm, Thursday, June 13 by someone close to the scene. The fire was put out fairly quickly after the Presidio Volunteer Fire Department arrived. The Presidio Police Department, Presidio ISD Police and Presidio County sheriff’s deputies also responded to the call.

County Fire Marshal Gary Mitschke said in his initial talks with the fire marshal that it appears that the construction of the house, which is made of rock and stucco, held the heat inside.

“It was like an oven in there,” said Mitschke.

He said the Fire Marshal told him that the fire was so intense that it probably destroyed evidence that could help determine what started the fire.

Mitschke traveled from Marfa to Presidio on Saturday morning to inspect the scene. Based on what he saw, the house has two roofs – a solid flat roof underneath a sloping roof – that appeared to keep the fire contained and from breaking out of the house. The fire didn’t spread to the adjacent houses made with similar construction.

“It’s a real unfortunate situation,” said Mitschke.