Hereford wildfire burns down one home, displaces family

Hereford wildfire burns down one home, displaces family

08 May 2011

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USA: HEREFORD, Ariz. – A fast moving wildfire burned down one home and a handful of sheds and other structures near Highway 92 & Hereford Rd. in Hereford, Arizona Saturday. One family made it out just in time.

Gina Beck and her 8-month-old son were getting ready to celebrate her first Mother’s Day when she saw flames spreading toward her yard.

“No sooner did I get the baby and the two dogs and the cat out of the house and across the street and the house went up in flames,” she said.

Her husband came home shortly afterward. He was out buying her flowers. The couple lost most of their possessions.

“I know they’re material things but that just goes through your head that you just lost everything,” she said, holding a bottle for little Jerry, “His first baby pictures, that’s the stuff you can’t take those pictures again.”

Chief Randy Redmond with the Sierra Vista Fire Department said the wildfire at it’s peak was estimated at 6-7 acres in size with winds in the area gusting to 30 mile per hour during the fire.

Regional fire crews from the Fry, Palominas, Whetstone fire districts along with Sierra Vista, Huachuca City, and Fort Huachuca fire departments are on the scene. A man, his wife, and their 8 month old baby were inside the home when the fire started and are now displaced.

Emergency crews quickly responded and protected 11 other structures near the wildfire. Highway 92 was closed for over two hours due to a power line being down across the roadway.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire. According to initial reports, witnesses say they saw someone attempting to cut abandoned metal when sparks caught the surrounding area on fire. That person fled the scene.

Fry Fire District Chief Bill Miller says residents should cut back their grass and watch any barbecues, cigarettes or other sparks closely, especially under these conditions.

“The lesson here is you just have to be very careful,” he said, “the conditions here in Southern Arizona are the driest they’ve been in a quarter century so we just want everybody to be aware of the dangers.”

As for the Beck family, they’re just glad their most important priorities are okay.

“We’re all safe and that’s what matters,” said Gina, “It’s going to be a very memorable mother’s day.”

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