|Written by Lu Stitt|
|Wednesday, 22 July 2009 12:16|
Some Cottonwood residents are spending time at a winter home in Northern Arizona because their home in Verde Village Unit 3 burned to the ground Saturday, July 18.
All of a sudden the homeowners heard a loud explosion, around 2:44 p.m. When they went to investigate, they saw a workshop next to the double-wide manufactured home fully engulfed in flames, according to Verde Valley Fire District reports.
“He tried to get a garden hose, but the fire chased him down the carport. He and two women in the house got out OK. The fire moved very fast,” Fire Chief Jerry Doerksen said.
Inside the shop in the 2600 block of South Sunset Drive were several different kinds of chemicals, paint supplies, acetylene torches and various ammunition.
The cause of the fire was undetermined, and with the damage done it will probably remain undetermined. It took only a few minutes for the fire to burn the house to the ground.
“We do know the fire was accidental,” Doerksen said.
As flames and black smoke roared into the sky, neighboring homes were threatened, but only one received any real damage. To the south, the exterior of the neighboring house exposed to the fire was scorched, and the windows on that side blew out. Firefighters and a neighbor on the roof with a garden hose stopped the fire from getting inside. The house to the north had very little damage, according to the fire reports.
As a precaution, firefighters had Cottonwood police officers and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies evacuate houses surrounding the one on fire. The officers also helped with traffic and crowd control. Several neighbors and onlookers lined the street across from the fire, many using their cell phones to take pictures.
Firefighters from Verde Valley, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Camp Verde and Sedona fought the blaze and assisting were Verde Valley Ambulance with the rehab truck and members of the Trauma Intervention Program.
“There were a lot of neighbors that helped, too, to get people alerted so they could be safe,” Doerksen said.
After the fire, Verde Valley Fire District firefighters got some plywood and boarded up the windows of the house to the south.
The fire is still under investigation, and an estimate of the damage was not available by press time.
“We do know it was a heavy, heavy loss,” Doerksen said.
Also at the fire was Cottonwood Fire Chief Mike Casson who helped coordinate the firefighters’ efforts. He said it was fortunate that there was a fire hydrant close by.
“The one we used, the city water company put in about six months ago. Otherwise we would have had to use water tenders,” Casson said.
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