A tiny spark started a blaze that quickly consumed two trailer homes, several vehicles and other structures at Top of the Mountain on Wednesday.
A resident of one of the trailers at the back of the Oaks Trailer Part at 52744 E. Hwy. 60 was apparently working on his vehicle when a spark ignited a fire that completely consumed his garage, his home, and, by the time Superior firefighters arrived in a tender truck with 1,800 gallons of water on board, half of a neighboring home.
Captain Richard Drennan told Globe Miami Times that on-duty firefighters in Superior were battling a different blaze when the call from Top of the World was made to 9-1-1 at 4:16 p.m. The Top of the Mountain area is not covered by a fire district, and there are no hydrants to fill fire tankers in event of a blaze.
Drennan said three off-duty firefighters from Superior scrambled to answer the distress call. By the time the heavy water tanker made it to the site of the fire, the first home was fully involved, the second was about half burned, and several sheds and vehicles were ablaze. The captain said the tanker, which is more appropriately called a water tender, can only travel at about 36 m.p.h. because of the heavy load it carries.
Firefighters were able to confine the fire to the two homes, and there were no serious injuries or loss of life. One elderly woman who lives nearby was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene by Tri City Fire.
Cpt. Drennan said it could have been much worse. “I was glad my department responded when it did because the fire was spreading quickly,” he said. A propane tank was venting when firefighters arrived, shooting flames high into the air.
He warned people – especially those in areas of poor fire coverage – to be especially cautious about allowing shrubbery to grow up around their houses. One house had mesquite bushes that kept igniting and caught a chicken coop at a third house on fire before being contained. He said there was also some concern about yards that were filled with trash and debris. A few shrubs in the Tonto National Forest north of the trailer park burned, but were quickly extinguished.
Firefighters and personnel from Globe, Queen Valley, the Forest Service and Arizona State Fire responded to the fire. Law enforcement from Gila and Pinal Sheriff and the Arizona Department of Public safety also responded. Tender trucks from Queen Valley and Tri City had to be refilled twice each, according to Drennan.
Hwy. 60 traffic was not impacted during the fire although Drennan said there was plenty of rubbernecking occurring because of the fire. Part of the trailer park was also evacuated until the area was deemed safe enough for residents to return.
The fire was contained by about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Aimee Staten has worn several hats over the last few years, but she recently put on one of her more familiar caps after four years of working in nonprofits: That of a journalist. She has 14 years of experience in the news business as a reporter with eight of those years as the managing editor of the Eastern Arizona Courier.