Pine Home Explodes In Flames

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A two-story home in Pine exploded in flames Wednesday morning, shooting flames from the windows and ending in a pile of smoldering ash.

This is the second home in two days to be destroyed by fire in Rim Country.

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Fire fighters from Pine Strawberry Fire Department soaked the burning building from every angle as they fought the blaze late Wednesday morning, Sept. 10.

The home, at 5452 W. Valley View St. in Pine, went up in flames in a matter of minutes, shortly after neighbors heard a loud explosion around 10:30 a.m.

Homeowner Gabe Perez and his wife were down in the Valley at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

Pine-Strawberry Fire Chief Bob Lashua said neighbors called after hearing a loud explosion and seeing a large plume of smoke near the home. When firefighters arrived, the home was already engulfed in flames. By 11:15 a.m., the fire was extinguished.

"It is a total loss," Lashua said of the home.

Neighbor Bill Myers said he also heard a loud explosion, like two sticks of dynamite.

"You could smell gas and see flames coming out of the window," Myers said.

Kati Austin, the Perez's daughter, said she knows God protected her parents and her husband Brian, who arrived at the home shortly after the fire started to return keys.

Brian had been working in the home Tuesday night laying tile. Brian said when he left everything seemed normal.

"I am just so happy my parents and husband are alive," Austin said.

On Tuesday, a fire destroyed a Payson home, 100 W. Chateau Circle, in a matter of minutes.

Authorities are still investigating what caused both fires.

Read more about both fires in Friday's Roundup.

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