MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN) — A huge fire took out about a block’s worth of homes under construction in the DR Horton Saguaro Bloom Development in Marana Friday, May 14.
The wind whipping through the open framework of the part-finished houses helped the fire blow up fast.
Now there’s little more than ashes for investigators to sift through.
The nearest occupied homes were maybe two blocks away. Angela asked us not to show her face or use her full name. She says it was frightening to see such a large fire anywhere near her house:
"We were scared. We were freaking out.
We recorded it on our phones and then everybody else started coming out and shortly we all felt the same.
Like what the hell's going on, but it was just so strange how it looked so much closer than it was so an afterthought.
Those flames must have been just huge for us to think that they were that close when they weren't."
According to Northwest Fire, crews attempted to access water from the closest fire hydrants but found that they were not functional. Additional steps were taken to supply fire engines from further hydrants and water tenders were dispatched to the scene. Initial fire suppression efforts were hampered due to the lack of firefighting water available.
To track down how the fire happened, Marana Police have teamed up with Northwest Fire and ATF, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They caution just because arson investigators are involved does not mean anyone’s concluded it’s arson. But they do want to know if anyone was near those houses.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible for the fire.
Marana Police Lieutenant Tim Brunenkant says, “We'll do our due diligence, looking at any calls for service of any homelessness or, you know, juveniles, underage people that are in this area history have caused us to believe that there's some suspicious activity. We'll look into that and see if we had any reports in the recent few days."
Marana Police say, call them or call 88-Crime if you know anything that can help. They say now that home surveillance cameras are common, yours might have caught something useful Friday night.
KGUN 9 has been asking DR Horton where the fire leaves people who’ve put deposits down on homes that are now nothing but rubble. We have not heard back.
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.