Crews fight overnight blazes at Phoenix apartment clubhouses; cause under investigation

PHOENIX - Firefighters battled two large fires at a Phoenix apartment complex overnight.  

Crews were called to the complex near 12th Street and Maryland where one clubhouse had gone up in flames. Once the blaze was under control, firefighters noticed a second, unattached clubhouse was also on fire. 

Resident Tess Pekrul's condominium unit is near the community center that caught fire.

"Just based on having two community centers on fire, it doesn't seem like it would be any kind of accident — like someone just leaving the stove on," Pekrul said.

Firefighters had to lay more than 1,000 feet of supply line to fight the fires because the closest fire hydrants were located outside of the complex.

"I heard their [firefighters] walkie talkies initially and then I heard a chainsaw and that is when we came out and saw a big plume of smoke coming from the windows," Pekrul said.

Fortunately, no one was inside either of the clubhouses and no injuries were reported. 

"There was a ton of smoke and I put a handkerchief over my mouth but that wasn't doing the trick," Pekrul explained.

Phoenix Fire officials say it's too early to determine whether the fires were arson, but investigators are on scene working to learn more about the cause.  

"When I heard that the other community center was also on fire, I had thought that somebody had done it intentionally and then one of the firefighters that we spoke with said they were suspecting it was arson," Pekrul said.

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