LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Little Rock family says they spent years trying to restore the historic G.W. Caruth J.C. Cochran House in the historic district of the Governor’s Mansion but all of their hard work went up in smoke after a fire Saturday morning.
The Cochran house was built in the 1880s and is more than 100 years old, because of the age and architecture of the house it is considered historic, says Patricia Blick, Executive Director of Quapaw Quarter Association.
Owner of the House Barry Sims says seeing the state of the house that his family bought in 2018 is horrible. Being that for his wife and him it was their dream home and they loved living there, to see it damaged is heartbreaking.
“My wife was upstairs, she actually looked out and saw the smoke and started alerting us before the fire alarms went off,” said Sims.
Within minutes Sims says he called the City of Little Rock Fire Department.
“It took a long time for it to sink in that the house was actually burning,” said Sims.
After years of hard work and a lot of money, Sims says they were proud of the house and glad it was close to being completely restored.
“We put a new kitchen in, two new bathrooms and a laundry room, we were one area away from having the outside completely restored,” says Sims.
The City of Little Rock Fire Department says they received a call that the house was on fire at 10:08 a.m. Sims says he was told the fire started due to electrical issues.
“We’re told from the fire marshal it was an electrical fire but the investigators are coming on Wednesday to figure out what really happened,” said Sims.
The house is also part of the Quapaw Quarter Association; Blick says the fire draws attention to the problems historic homeowners deal with.
“It is an opportunity to have a discussion about rehabilitating historic properties,” says Blick.
Despite everything the Sims family has endured, Sims says he is thankful he and his family made it out unharmed and wants to prevent other families from going through what they did.
“It’s important to be prepared and get out of your house quickly,” said Sims.
Sims adds he doesn’t know what they’re going to do moving forward with the house but they’re confident it will be restored again.