Three adults and four children became homeless Tuesday morning when the trailer they were living in at 902 Saddle Lane burned to the ground.
Steve Schade and his wife, Sarah, along with their two children, were at the residence when the fire broke out in the front part of the trailer home. Schade said it took only 10 minutes for the home to burn to the ground.
While no one was hurt in the fire, a female dog and her 10 puppies in the back yard of the trailer perished in the blaze.
The owner of the trailer, Christine McCarty and her two children, were not home at the time of the fire.
Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi said the home was a total loss and estimated the damage to the home and surrounding area at about $85,000.
He said it took firefighters a few hours to completely put out the fire that started at about 2:30 a.m.
The fire department has not determined a cause for the fire, but it does not appear to be suspicious, deMasi said.
The fire chief said the fire may have been caused by fireplace ashes that were taken out of a wood stove and put on the porch. Embers could have been blown onto the firewood that was stacked next to the home.
"It seemed to go pretty quick," deMasi said. "When they woke up, they saw a small fire and (by the time they opened the door) it was ripping pretty good."
The occupants told firefighters the smoke detector did not go off. The Payson fire chief said he did not see a smoke detector, but added it could have been destroyed in the fire.
Schade said his family had only been living at the trailer for a short time.
"At about 3 a.m. my wife woke me up, and said, ‘Wake up, the house is on fire,'" he said. "Another 10 minutes of sleep and we would have died.
"I saw the fire, and it did not seem big until I opened up the front door. Within 10 minutes it was raging."
Schade said, the most disconcerting thing about the fire is that McCarty, the trailer's owner, is nine-months pregnant.
"This is all that she has left," Schade said.
His wife, through tears, said they will have to start over.
"It can't get any worse. It can only get better," she said.
The Red Cross has been helping the two families since Tuesday, and Schade can be contacted on a cellular phone at (928) 402-2358.
DeMasi offered two pieces of advice to residents after witnessing the devastation of this house fire:
- A workable fire detector is a necessity.
- Firewood should never be stored next to the structure of homes.
"(Firewood) is just as advertised," he said. "It will burn very quickly."