The Red Cross this week came to the rescue of a Mesa del Caballo family who lost their home and everything they owned in a fire last week.
The Red Cross provided a hotel room, food and extra clothing for the family of three, who escaped unharmed from a fire that consumed their rented manufactured home on March 17.
The family entered their home at 7382 W. Toya Vista Road and immediately smelled smoke. They quickly found smoke seeping from under the door of the child’s bedroom. That’s when they made a potentially dangerous mistake: They opened the door to investigate the smoke, said Houston Mesa Fire Chief Mark Essary.
Oxygen rushed into the room and caused the smoldering mattress to burst into flames. The father made an attempt to put out the fire with glasses of water, before the flames and smoke forced them to retreat into the yard.
Later investigation pointed to an electrical fire as the cause of the blaze. The child’s mattress was apparently pushed up against a plug outlet in the wall. A short in the electrical wiring caused a spark that apparently ignited the mattress, said Essary.
The Houston Mesa Fire Department received the call at 8:04 p.m. and had volunteer units on the scene within four minutes.
By then, a solid sheet of flame filled the bedroom window.
Eventually, the fire drew 11 trucks and 24 firefighters from Houston Mesa, Beaver Valley and the Payson fire departments. Almost all of the Houston Mesa and Beaver Valley firefighters were members of the volunteer force, along with three of the Payson firefighters who responded.
Firefighters had little hope of saving the mobile home, but did prevent the rain of embers from setting off the house next door or brush in the surrounding area.
The fire burned so stubbornly in the flimsy mobile home that it took 49 minutes to douse the last flame, said Essary.
“Those manufactured homes have all kinds of little spaces for the fire to burn and they’ve got that raised floor,” said Essary, perfect for a fierce little bonfire.