A firefighter is nursing his wounds and a family is picking up the pieces after a house fire this weekend.
The fall of a burning beam injured one firefighter during the Saturday afternoon blaze that displaced a family and nearly destroyed a home.
Fire officials suspect an unattended fire in the home’s fireplace, in the 2700 block of West Palmer, is likely the cause, but have made no official ruling.
Payson Fire’s Battalion Chief Dan Bramble said several neighbors reported the blaze about 2:40 p.m. When crews arrived, they found the yellow home’s attached carport on the east engulfed in flames and smoke.
While crews knocked the flames back in an hour, extreme heat from the fire badly damaged the 1950s home, a nearby vehicle, ATV and shed. No one was home at the time.
Bramble said the home’s fireplace shared a wall with the carport. It appears the family left the fire going when they left and the fire spread, although that has not been confirmed.
Firefighters stopped the flames from spreading to the entire home, but smoke damaged the kitchen and living area and destroyed much of the home’s interior and the occupants’ possessions, Bramble said.
The fire damaged a shed and passenger vehicle “beyond repair,” but firefighters saved a fifth-wheel trailer.
Three people reportedly occupied the home, including a teenage girl.
Regardless of whether the unattended fire caused the blaze, Bramble said people should never leave a fire unsupervised.
Some assume fires contained in a fireplace pose no danger, but such fires can have serious consequences, he said.
The fire also illustrated another important lesson — close your bedroom doors.
Bramble said the door to the teen’s bedroom was the only one closed and it had the least amount of damage. By contrast, the rest of the house suffered considerable damage from the heat and smoke.
Bramble said that when residents go to bed at night or leave for the day, they should close bedroom doors. That one step can provide a significant barrier to heat and smoke.
One firefighter was injured fighting the two-alarm blaze. A beam in the carport reportedly collapsed and landed on his back. The firefighter continued to work the rest of the fire, seeking medical attention later.
Bramble said he is recovering well at home.
Almost two-dozen firefighters responded, including those from Payson, Hellsgate and Houston Mesa Fire Departments. Even Fire Chief Marty deMasi jumped on a fire hose. Bramble said the engine at the newly built Station 13 came in especially handy since the town’s other engines were out on other calls when the fire started.
Whispering Pines and Pine-Strawberry Fire handled Payson’s other calls during the fire.
The Red Cross helped the family with clothing and medication. They are reportedly staying with friends.