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Hereford residents emphasize the importance of fire safety

After Williams fire swept through about 1,300 acres, neighbors assess the damage.
Posted at 8:15 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 23:15:39-04

HEREFORD, Ariz. (KGUN) — It has been more than a week since the Williams Fire in Cochise County burned more than 1,300 acres.

Fry Fire District tells KGUN 9 they believe this all started by an illegal burn by a resident.

“This used to be a storage barn,” said Liz Roy, a Hereford resident.

“Nothing recoverable in here,” she added.

Liz Roy looks at the remainder of her neighbor's house that burned down in the Williams Fire.

Mark and Liz Roy’s house was able to be saved in the Williams Fire. However, they lost many personal items in their storage barn that burned to the ground.

RELATED: Cochise County resident is rebuilding after losing her home in Williams Fire

“The fire burnt right up to the house and the strange thing about fire is it has its own mind on where it’s going to burn,” said Roy.

When the fire broke out last week, Mark and Liz immediately ran to their neighbor’s house to make sure they were evacuating.

“I woke up to about 20 minutes later to Liz and her husband banging on my bedroom window,” said Katherine McDonnell.

Leaving as quickly as possible, the flames and smoke grew bigger.

“The sky got pretty dark and then the air temperature changed,” said McDonnell.

“Really appreciative of all of those first responders who were headed toward the danger as I was running away so thank you to all of them,” said McDonnell.

One of the responders running towards the flames was Captain Jared Haros with the Fry Fire District.

“You feel a little helpless with the houses that you can't save, but with the houses that you can, you got to shift all your attention to them, and really start hitting the high threat, immediate hazard areas as quickly as possible,” said Captain Haros.

About five structures burned down, including Roy and McDonnell’s neighbor’s house just next door.

“We're really thankful for the protection, but just, it just makes me want to make sure I extend that care and concern to the people in our community that didn't have the same experience I did,” said McDonnell.

Although no one was injured, McDonnell and Roy said some of their neighbors lost their animals to the fire.

They both emphasized the importance of taking fire warnings seriously and creating an efficient evacuation plan.

The neighbors said they are thankful to be standing here today.

“I'm very thankful for that. And also, just so thankful for this community, how important it is, in whatever community you live in to get to know your neighbors and really be involved in your community so that you can help each other when times are difficult like this,” said McDonnell.

Faith Abercrombie is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before coming to KGUN, Faith worked as a videographer for the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation and as a reporter and producer on the youth suicide documentary, "Life is..." on Arizona PBS.
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