Fire destroys million-dollar home

Fire destroys million-dollar home

8 December 2005

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Arizona, USA — An early morning fire Wednesday destroyed a Mountainaire home, and the homeowners received only minor injuries after narrowly escaping the blaze.

Damages are estimated beyond $1 million. The cause is under investigation.

Tim Paupore, spokesperson for Highland Fire District, said firefighters were called out at 6:45 a.m. on a report of a wildland fire south of the village.

“Our first arriving crew found a fully involved structure fire in the forest,” Paupore said, adding that the blaze had consumed a 3,000 to 3,500 square-foot, two-story log home at 820 S. Erie St.

Two engines arrived on the scene originally, Paupore said. Crews brought out a water tender because no water is available in the area. Soon after, a second alarm was called for response from the Flagstaff Fire Department. Flag Fire rushed out two pumper engines and two more water tenders.

“The owners of the home, husband and wife, were injured while escaping the home,” Paupore said. “They escaped with just their bathrobes on, and left the house while it was fully involved.”

Sgt. Randy Servis of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said the couple was lucky to be alive.

“They used the basement to run under the fire to get out of the house,” Servis said.

The couple had superficial burns on their hands and feet, and also suffered from the effects of inhaling smoke, Paupore said. They were treated at the scene by Guardian MedicalTransport paramedics and transported to Flagstaff Medical Center.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the couple had been treated and released by early Wednesday afternoon.

“The home was a complete loss,” Paupore said. The value of the home, which was located on a 10-acre parcel of land in the forest is estimated at $1 million presently. Four cars and a backhoe were also burned in the blaze.

“They lost everything in the fire,” Paupore said. “It is burnt right down to the foundation.”

The Grand Canyon chapter of the American Red Cross had staff on hand to provide services to firefighters on the scene, said Jaclynn Anderson, spokesperson.

“Services were not requested (by the victims),” Anderson said. “They weren’t in need of our assistance.”

But Red Cross will continue to remain available if circumstances change, Anderson added.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We’re bringing up a fire investigator from Sedona Fire District,” Paupore said, adding that at this time, it is unknown if the home had any smoke detectors.

Forest fuel management crews were brought out to the scene to put out spot fires in the forest to prevent a forest fire, Paupore added.

Three residents who live in the area all stated they thought the fire was a wildland fire.

Mountainaire resident Debra Ussery said she was getting ready for work Wednesday morning when she heard the sirens and saw the flashing lights of the fire trucks.

“When I went outside to start my car around 7:15, I did see the fire trucks on the next street over … and I could see the plume of smoke,” Ussery said.

She and her stepson went to investigate and were told by firefighters that the fire was a house fire and not a wildland fire.

“If it weren’t a house fire, I probably wouldn’t have gone into work in case we had to get the pets and people out of Mountainaire,” Ussery said.

She added the plume of smoke could even been seen from Interstate 17.

Mountainaire has about 3,000 residents, Paupore said, and is a little smaller than Kachina Village, which is to the west of Mountainaire off I-17 about 6 miles south of Flagstaff. 


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