Two people hospitalized after Prescott structure fire
Home completely destroyed in blaze
A Prescott couple living in Camp Pinerock on Prescott’s southern border barely escaped with their lives after their home caught fire while they were sleeping early Friday morning, Aug. 23.
The woman homeowner told authorities she went to bed at about 8 p.m., followed by her husband at 9.
The man was awakened shortly after midnight by “popping” sounds and went to investigate, according to a Prescott Fire Department (PFD) news release. As he left the bedroom door, the smoke alarms in the house went off and he reported seeing flames and encountering heavy smoke and intense heat.
He yelled to his wife to follow him, but when he got outside, he noticed she wasn’t with him, according to the release. He tried to go back into the home, but was driven back by the heat and flames.
He then ran to the rear of the house – where the master bedroom was – in an attempt to find her.
The woman recalled trying to follow her husband out of the building, but having trouble with the heat and retreating to a different part of the building. While trying to exit through another room, the flames broke through an interior glass door and forced her farther back into the structure. She then made her way to a spare bedroom where she opened the window and found her husband on the outside to help her out.
Neighbors came running to the fire. When they found the injured couple, they loaded them into a car and took them to the camp entrance so they wouldn’t be blocked in on the narrow roads by the responding emergency units.
The patients were quickly loaded into two ambulances and transported to Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott. Both were then flown via helicopter to a level one trauma center in Phoenix for further care.
Fire investigators believe the fire underwent a “flashover”, when all the contents of a structure and the smoke get to a temperature that has them all ignite, filling the entire structure with flames, as the woman was exiting through the window.
“Both patients are lucky to be alive considering the fire conditions when they were attempting to get out of the home,” PFD Fire Marshall Don Devendorf said.
The Prescott Regional Communications Center received multiple 911 calls about the fire at around 12:45 a.m.
Three engine companies, a truck company, a brush truck, a support vehicle, a battalion chief, Prescott Police Department, an ambulance and other support personnel were immediately dispatched. The caller reported that the two persons in the house were out and accounted for but were injured and needed ambulance transportation.
Knowing this was a heavily-wooded area with multiple cabins and homes in close proximity to each other, the responding battalion chief upgraded the assignment by adding two more engine companies, two water tenders and three ambulances.
Responding engines were able to see flames coming from the building well before arriving on the scene. When they arrived, they reported an approximately 1,000-square-foot home fully involved in fire.
Flame heights were reported to be 150 feet high with trees burning and a one-quarter-acre fire nearby. Four houses and a car were also in close proximity.
Due to the home being completely engulfed in flames, along with the knowledge that there were no people in the building, a defensive firefighting strategy was employed using large amounts of water from the outside of the building.
While attempting to extinguish the fire, firefighters were also protecting the four other homes and vehicle that were at risk from the heat of the blaze. The vehicle was significantly damaged as it was next to the home, but the other homes were saved with only minor damage to each of them.
The building and contents – valued at about $250,000 – were a total loss, Devendorf said.
The investigation of the cause of the fire is on-going.
Information provided by the Prescott Fire Department.