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Downtown Prescott House Fire Results In No Injuries
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21 June 2017   Don Devendorf
Photo by Jim Christianson

The fire also included a power line, resulting in loss of power for neighborhood.

On Monday June 19, 2017, at approximately 2:50PM, the Prescott Regional Communications Center received multiple 911 calls reporting a house on fire in the 400 block of South Montezuma Street in downtown Prescott. 3 Engine Companies, a Truck Company, a Battalion Chief, Prescott PD, an ambulance, and other support personnel were dispatched. Units responding to the fire could see the smoke column from long distances.

The first arriving unit found a small older home with heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the structure. The occupant of the home met fire units on arrival to tell them that there was no one in the structure and that he did not know how the fire started.  

Photo by Jim Christianson

Crews began an exterior fire attack to allow them to enter the structure to do a search and fully extinguish the fire. The fire was brought under control and the search for hidden hot spots began in about 30 minutes. Efforts to fully extinguish the fire were hampered by a power line that had flames impinge on it causing it to short out and throw sparks. The flames eventually burned through, causing it to fall to the ground, making putting water in area of the energized electrical lines hazardous until APS could arrive on the scene to cut power to the area. When APS arrived and cut power, residents and business in the area were without power for a number of hours after the fire was extinguished. Emergency units cleared the scene in 3 hours.

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Due to the high temperatures at the time of the fire, and the amount of work needed to remove the contents of the home to find hidden hot spots, an additional Engine Company was ordered to the scene to allow all firefighting personnel to go through a Rehab process where they would be cooled to decrease their body temperatures, have all their vital signs evaluated, and rehydrated before being allowed back inside the structure.

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

The home was considered to be a total loss with an estimated value of $90,000 including belongings. A number of personal items were able to be salvaged due to the quick attack keeping the fire completely out of one of the rooms. There were no injuries to civilians or emergency response personnel.

 

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Fire Investigators determined the fire originated in the kitchen in the area of the stove and a water heater closet. It was determined that the old home had termite damage to the supporting structures under the water heater, causing the water heater to sink away from the vent pipe that allowed heated exhaust gas to continually dry the building materials in the water heater closet, eventually drying the wood to a point that made it easily ignitable. Had the home had a Carbon Monoxide detector, the separation of the exhaust flue from water heater may have been detected before the drying of the building materials got to the point that caused the fire. 

Photo by Lynne LaMaster

Homeowners are advised to have their gas fired appliances checked by licensed contractors on a regular basis to assure proper venting for safe operation of their appliances.  

 Photo by Lynne LaMaster

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