Fires gut 2 homes, displacing 8 peopleby Eric Sagara on May. 12, 2009, under Local, Special
Two homes were destroyed Monday afternoon in unrelated fires that began outside the houses before moving into the buildings.
Tucson Fire Capt. Tricia Tracy said the fires left a family of six and a couple without places to live. The American Red Cross is providing shelter to them.
In the first blaze, a woman called 911 to report a fire at her West Side home, then left the scene to pick up a child from school, Tracy said in a news release.
Tracy said a smoke detector sounded shortly after noon as the woman was getting ready to leave the home in the 2200 block of South Hiram Banks Court, near South Mission Road and West Ajo Way.
Neighbors also called 911 to report that the fire was in the carport and that an elderly woman and some small children might be inside.
Firefighters arrived minutes later to find the carport and two vehicles burning. Smoke and flames were also coming through the windows in the front of the home.
A quick search revealed that nobody was in the house, Tracy said.
The blaze caused an estimated $150,000 of damage, destroying the vehicles and the home where the woman lived with five others, including three children.
Tracy said it is important that families plan escape routes from a home in case of fire and designate a meeting place in a safe area away from the building.
Tracy said family members should stay at the meeting spot until firefighters arrive to tell rescuers if any people or animals remain inside, and where they may be located.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but Tracy said it appears it have started in the carport.
The second blaze, which started about 2 p.m. was caused by a faulty electrical panel on the back porch of a home in the 3200 block of South Harrison Road.
A man and a woman were home at the time of the fire. They heard a loud noise coming from the back of the house followed by a smoke alarm going off.
Firefighters responding to 911 calls from the couple and neighbors found the porch and interior of the home ablaze.
The fire caused about $200,000 of damage, Tracy said.