Travelers from Phoenix ended an expedition in flames Sunday night.
Charles Carter of Phoenix pulled into the Chevron on Highway 260. He said when he got out of his recreational vehicle, he saw flames coming from the front of the left rear tire where the propane tank is located, according to Battalion Chief Guy Austin of the Payson Fire Department.
Friends who were traveling with Carter in a second motor home pulled into an antique shop across the road. When the friends saw the fire, he went across the highway and started the vehicle Carter was towing while Carter unhitched it. The friend pulled the vehicle away from the RV.
Austin said the initial report to the fire department was about a motor home fire next to the Chevron gas tanks. When the firefighters arrived, they discovered the RV was in fact 20 to 30 feet away from the gas tanks.
"It was well involved upon our arrival," Austin said. "We attacked and suppressed it." He added it took them about 11 minutes to control.
A nearby resident, Suzanne Michaels, said she heard four or five large explosions and went to the scene.
"I saw a huge black plume of smoke," she said.
Austin said the explosions were the tires.
"It is a common thing when a vehicle is on fire for the tires to explode," he said. "It is startling and we always stop briefly to make sure it is the tires and not something unexpected."
He said because of the total destruction, it was not possible to know the precise source of the fire.
"No one was hurt," Austin said. "The occupants did not need treatment at the scene or at the hospital."
The Payson Fire Department had 14 firefighters on the scene and was assisted by the Diamond Star Fire Department.
"They responded remarkably fast," Michaels said. "I was impressed."