Firefighters may never determine what sparked a blaze in a Tonto Basin modular home Friday morning after intense heat and flames reduced the home to a pile of ash.
Tonto Basin Fire volunteers and Payson Fire Department firefighters battled dry conditions, a downed power line and extreme heat for hours trying to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to three nearby homes.
“Luckily we did not lose anything else,” said Jeannine Cheek, public information officer.
“With the number of trees and homes nearby, it could have been worse — but we got very lucky.”
Around 4:30 a.m., Tonto Basin Fire Department received a call from an unknown caller reporting a home, in the 300 block of E. Dooleys Nob, near the Bar X Crossing on fire. By the time the first crews arrived on scene 10 minutes later, the home was already fully involved, she said.
Tonto Basin called PFD for backup around 5:20 a.m. to help keep the fire from spreading. While crews battled the blaze, they had to use extreme caution because a live power line connected to the home had fallen. Around 5:40 a.m., APS arrived on scene and shut power off to the line.
A 45-year-old woman sleeping in the home at the time reported hearing the smoke detectors go off. She quickly left the home, but suffered smoke inhalation and had to be taken to Payson Regional Medical Center.
She told firefighters a week earlier lightening had struck the home, flipping all of the breakers in the electrical panel. However, everything seemed to be functioning fine afterwards.
Cheek said the cause of the fire remains undermined due to a lack of evidence, but arson is not suspected.