Three trailers in Tonto Basin burned to the ground Saturday morning after a 55-year-old man’s cigarette ignited several oxygen bottles in his trailer, Tonto Basin fire officials said.
The man was reportedly smoking near his oxygen bottles, while connected to an oxygen machine when a fire broke out in the singlewide trailer in Roosevelt Resort, said Tonto Basin Public Information Officer Jeannine Cheek. The man’s name was not released and Cheek said she did not know if one of the bottles had exploded starting the fire.
The man went to a neighbor’s home to call the police around 4 a.m. shortly after the fire started, but by the time the first engine arrived on scene 20 minutes later, the trailer was fully engulfed, Cheek said.
The first firefighters on scene immediately tried to stop the blaze from spreading to nearby trailers, but the fire quickly spread to a doublewide trailer to the west and a travel trailer on the east side of the property.
While the first engine battled the blaze on one side of the trailer, the second engine arrived on scene and started hosing the other side, but to no avail, the roaring fire destroyed the trailers, two cars and several cypress trees in the yard, Cheek said. The man and his dog were uninjured and no one was home at the time at the other two trailers.
Canyon Fire Department from Globe responded with a water truck and engine to provide extra assistance.
The fire was especially hazardous for firefighters because several propane tanks on the property were near the trailers and could have exploded, Cheek said.
“The main concern was the tanks, because it seemed like there was a propane tank at every corner of the yard,” she said.
After two hours, 12 firefighters had cleared any remaining hot spots, leaving only several piles of twisted metal on the properties. Authorities estimated $250,000 in damage to the trailers and $100,000 in property loss.
“They were on scene for six hours because we still have to knock the trailers down and lift up any salvage to do mop up,” Cheek said.
The man reportedly stayed with his sister who lives in the neighborhood.