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Officer discovers fire at downtown Prescott bar

This photo was taken moments after two Prescott firefighters forced open the front door of the Big Easy Bar downtown and began applying water to the fire Sunday night. One firefighter is standing outside on the porch and his head is no longer visible due to the smoke rolling out the door. The second firefighter is kneeling inside the doorway. While his helmet is visible, immediately in front of him is a solid wall of smoke. That firefighter reported having zero visibility inside.

Photo courtesy/Prescott Fire

This photo was taken moments after two Prescott firefighters forced open the front door of the Big Easy Bar downtown and began applying water to the fire Sunday night. One firefighter is standing outside on the porch and his head is no longer visible due to the smoke rolling out the door. The second firefighter is kneeling inside the doorway. While his helmet is visible, immediately in front of him is a solid wall of smoke. That firefighter reported having zero visibility inside.

A police officer on patrol discovered a fire burning at a bar in downtown Prescott late Sunday night.

According to a press release from Prescott Fire Department, at 11 p.m. Sunday night, a Prescott police officer on patrol noticed a smoky haze along North Granite Street. He began driving around the neighborhood trying to find the source of the smoke and found the Big Easy Bar in the 100 block of North McCormick Street charged with smoke.

The officer called for a fire response and began notifying the residences on either side of the burning structure to evacuate their homes. Two Prescott Fire engines and one truck company as well as a Central Arizona Fire engine responded to the fire.

The truck company’s firefighters forced entry into the building and found heavy smoke conditions on the ground and determined that the floor of the building had been compromised by the fire. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire and set up ventilation to rid the building of smoke. Another two hours were spent extinguishing all the remaining hot spots in the building to avoid having the fire rekindle.

No firefighters were injured and the adjacent residents were able to return to their homes by 1 a.m. The structure itself suffered considerable damage, having lost most of its floor and ceiling in the blaze.

Investigation into the cause of the fire began Monday morning.

According to Prescott Fire, the police officer who found the fire made two decisions that improved safety and the outcome for area residents. First, he alerted neighbors so they had adequate time to gather themselves and any valuables. Second, he recognized that the fire was so well established that a fire extinguisher would have been ineffective. Had the officer attempted to enter the building, he would have been overcome with smoke and the introduction of fresh air would have accelerated the fire’s progress before firefighters could arrive. This could have resulted in considerably more damage to the building as well as the potential loss of life, the press release said.

-- Information provided by Prescott Fire

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