Early risers in Pine got a scary wake-up call Saturday — a fiery glow over the pines cast by a two-story house fire.
Like many residents, Marie Fritz was sleeping soundly when emergency sirens startled her awake about 5:40 a.m. She says when she looked outside, a fireball in the forest greeted her.
Afraid for her home, she ran outside, grabbed her garden hose and waited for firefighters.
“When I looked straight out and saw a huge red glow behind the trees I didn’t know if the whole neighborhood was on fire so I was freaking out,” she said.
When engines arrived at a home 100 yards away, Fritz said she ran through the field to see what was happening.
A site-built home, at 6548 E. Starlight Drive, had become a bonfire of twisted metal, melted lawn chairs and charred plywood.
The fire was so hot and involved, residents miles away on the other side of town reported seeing flames, said P-S Fire Chief David Staub.
“It could be seen all across Pine,” he said.
With the homeowners away, the fire had gained a good lead. Staub believes the fire burned some time before neighbors noticed anything was wrong.
Some reported hearing a large crash when the home’s windows broke out while others called for help when the power went out.
“Pretty much every neighbor called it in,” he said.
Despite the rash of calls, there was little firefighters could do to save the home, he said.
However, they did stop impending flames from reaching a neighbor’s home, the detached garage and the surrounding forest.
Recent rains likely dampened the fire’s progress through the trees.
Fritz said the morning was also unusually calm.
“There was no breeze at all, thank God,” she said.
Within 30 minutes, firefighters from P-S, Payson and Houston Mesa had the fire under control.
“I could tell they had it under control,” Fritz said. “The guys had it pretty well knocked down.”
Firefighters used roughly 24,000 gallons of water on the 2,000-square-foot home, pulling water from four engines and four water tenders.
The homeowners, who live in the Valley, were not home at the time. They arrived later in the morning to survey the damage.
Two firefighters sustained minor injuries fighting the flames, including a minor burn and sprain, Staub said.
The cause and origin of the fire is unknown, but investigators don’t suspect arson.