Fire Prevention Week: investigating fires

TUCSON, Ariz. - Investigators are trying to determine the cause of three house fires over the weekend -- this as fire prevention week gets underway.

Tucson Fire says the way they approach burn patterns is like how a forensics team would approach blood spatter. How a home is burned tells a story to investigators of what happened.

"Basically we get called in kind of after the fact of a structure fire," said Rico.

Andy Rico is a Tucson Fire Investigator who looked into today's house fire near Oracle and Grant.
Rico said his first order of business is searching for hazards.

"Possible downed power lines, anything that can hurt us, basically," said Rico.

He then looks for pieces of obvious evidence, "Like ignition sources. And then we're also looking at different burn patterns and damage to the exterior," said Rico.

Rico said the fire damage could have been worse had it not been for neighbors who heard the smoke detector and saw smoke coming from the home.

"Those early indicators got us -- they called 9-1-1 -- time is very precious when it comes to fires. So by calling us quick, we were able to control the fire to prevent further property loss," said Rico.

Smoke detectors are a key part of a home fire escape plan. Tucson Fire is urging you to make sure your alarms stay working by checking them every month. But Rico also offers this advice for homeowners.

"Interconnected smoke detectors are going to be your best bet because if one goes off, all of them go off. So say you're sleeping upstairs, and you have a fire downstairs, you're going to be alerted to the fire that was downstairs," said Rico.

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