April 17, 2012
A fire of unknown origins gutted a Deer Creek home long before the first fire crews arrived from Payson and the U.S. Forest Service. The unincorporated community south of Rye isn’t in a fire protection district.
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A Deer Creek house Monday morning caught everyone off guard. It took some time for crews to arrive after the fire was reported just before 10 a.m., since the small, unincorporated community south of Rye isn’t covered by a fire district. Tonto Basin Fire Chief Steve Holt said he wasn’t going to send any crew at first, because he didn’t want to put his district at risk, but he didn’t want to see the rest of the neighborhood go up in flames. However, the next time there is a fire in the community, he likely won’t send any personnel due to financial constraints and the risk of leaving his district vulnerable. By the time Tonto Basin and Forest Service firefighters arrived, flames had fully engulfed the stucco home at 124 E. Cat Claw Road.