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Local fire departments work together to battle house fire


Elizabeth Medora

CAVE CREEK – Crews from Rural/Metro Fire, Daisy Mountain Fire, Phoenix Fire, and Scottsdale Fire Departments worked together in the early morning hours of March 2 to battle a house fire in Cave Creek, north of Carefree Highway and 24th Street. The home could not be saved, but crews contained the fire to that structure, and no one was injured.

“On the 2nd at approximately 1:21 a.m., Rural/Metro responded to the address on a report by the home owner and Maricopa County Sheriffs of a house fire,” Rural/Metro Fire Department Public Information Officer Shawn Gilleland reported via email. “According to deputies, the resident had been using a cooking grill on the front porch earlier in the evening, but then left the home for an unknown amount of time. When she returned, she found the front porch where the grill was located fully engulfed in flames.”

Gilleland noted that the deputies and the resident were able to safely remove several dogs from the home. The resident was not injured, but she was eventually transported to a local hospital as a precaution due to signs of hyperventilation and stress.

Daisy Mountain Fire Battalion Chief Dave Wilson noted that Daisy Mountain Fire, Phoenix Fire, and Scottsdale Fire crews all responded to the scene on 26th Street to assist Rural/Metro Fire.

“Upon arrival of the first unit from Rural Metro Fire (Engine 825), the large multi-story residential structure was reported to be fully involved,” Wilson reported. “In addition to the stage of the fire upon arrival, we were also faced with access issues, as the home was situated down a long narrow driveway allowing access for only one Engine.”

No working fire hydrants were located close enough to the home for use, so the fire was fought via water from tanker trucks.

“Among the challenges that Rural/Metro faced in fighting this structure fire, was the availability of water,” Gilleland said, adding that many residents of that area draw water from wells or have water hauled to their homes.

Gilleland noted that there are several fire hydrants along 26th Street that are tagged “out of service.” These hydrants were placed due to plans for a subdivision in the area; the subdivision ended up not being built. Gilleland said the hydrants are not attached to the existing infrastructure in the area and Rural/Metro fire crews have been trained to deal with these fires in areas like this.

“Part of that adaptation and logistics includes managing the rotation of multiple tankers to continuously supply the firefighters on scene with adequate water,” Gilleland said. “It may not be the preferred method of fighting the fire, where tapping an active hydrant would be, but it works. Even these “out of service” hydrants were quite a distance from the scene.”

Gilleland also noted that the home was located several hundred yards off the road, limiting firefighters’ access to the scene.

“The topography of the surrounding land made it difficult for firefighters to work from all sides of the home,” Gilleland said. “Early on in the fire, the tin/metal roof collapsed in on the fire. In doing so, it encased the burning materials and shielded the fire underneath from water reaching. It also made it very treacherous for firefighters to move into the structure and attempt to get water under the unstable structure.”

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the fire. The home was lost; firefighters contained the fire and kept it from spreading further.

“No injuries were reported and the fire was contained to the building of origin, however, the home and its contents were not able to be saved,” Wilson said. “The cause of the fire is under investigation.”