PHOENIX - Investigators are trying to determine what sparked a major house fire Tuesday afternoon in Phoenix.
Luckily, firefighters were able to keep the flames isolated to one home near 3rd and Roma avenues.
“Boy, it just swooped in there!” said Buck Bassett, who lives next door and drove up to see the flames taking over. “I’ve never seen it move like that!”
Several others saw it, too. Including State Representative Paul Boyer. “It was shocking,” said Boyer, describing the flames at fifty feet high at one point.
Buck Bassett tried to help. “[My wife] had the hose, and I wanted a picture of her,” he laughed. “She was spraying the house and the smoke was billowing up.”
The old shingle roof is original to the 1960’s home, making it extremely combustible. Fire officials say it took twenty minutes to extinguish the flames – nearly twice as long as usual – because it kept re-igniting.
“It’s old wood, it’s all combustible, and it’s just a perfect firestorm,” said Phoenix Fire Captain Ruben Saavedra.
Mark Susan rents the place with two other guys. He had just returned from an errand when he realized the smoke was coming from his house.
Luckily no one was home, except for their cats. “One of the firefighters found her,” Susan said, referring to a wet and ashy cat lying in his arms. “The whole house is full of water and junk.”
The rest of the cats were located alive a short time later. That’s a little bit of good news and a great attitude considering the circumstances.
“Oh well, right?” said Susan. “Stuff happens.”
Another renter of the home tells ABC15 that firefighters suspect the spark may have started from a burning cigarette thrown into the alley behind their house. The entire roof and attic were destroyed.