Condo residents in Gilbert allowed back home after nearby 4-alarm fire

Posted at 2:55 PM, Oct 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 12:15:45-04

Gilbert fire crews spent Sunday assessing the damage in the daylight. This comes after a massive four-alarm fire ripped through a portion of a condominium complex under construction late Saturday night.

Residents say five other buildings in the Via Sorento complex near Guadalupe and Gilbert Roads were being added to the existing area. But, that fire - raging through the framework, forcing crews to start from scratch.

Dozens of people currently living to the south and the west of the construction site were forced to evacuate Saturday night because of carbon monoxide levels.

They were finally able to return home later Sunday morning. But, Monica Dancasky told ABC 15, anxiety was lingering for her - not sure what she was going to see when she went back inside.

"'Oh no, it looks like it's in... the condo area,'" Dancasky said, recounting the moment she noticed the night sky light up by flames.

"They were huge - you could feel the heat all the way from Neely," Dancasky explained.

"It was just scary, and I thought our house was going to burn down," said Mya Canez, who was evacuated from her condo Saturday night.

Her condo is just steps away from where the fire broke out. Her family felt the heat before they saw the fire. 

"My stepmom looked outside, and her whole face turned orange (from the glow), and my dad's like, 'Go, go, go, get out of the house,'" Canez said. 

The windows to nearby unoccupied condos were blown out by the heat.

"We went knocking on people's doors like, 'There's a fire, get out,'" Canez said.

"They were knocking at our door, and before we could answer, they knocked it down," said Jose Morales, who was also evacuated. "It was basically like an oven stepping outside."

Sunday morning, around 10:00 a.m., Dancasky was able to get back into the condo she owned - to see if the flames crept their way.

"Even surrounding cars, the back ends of them are just melted," Dancasky said.

Inside, the door frame took most of the damage, as firefighters had kicked it in - trying to make sure everyone was evacuated.

Another resident, April Ventura, said she has been watching those five additional condominiums being built.

"This the final phase of the condo community," Ventura explained. "So, we're getting a lot of traffic through here."

Construction crews will have to start over, but those nearby residents are thankful they will not have to.

Gilbert fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire, but right now - officials said, it is too early to call this fire suspicious.