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Elderly man, dogs escape fire with help of neighbors
A 90-year-old man lost his home and all his belongings to a fire Tuesday night, but he is safe because his neighbors helped him escape the burning trailer along with his two dogs.
There were no injuries reported.
“Thank God for that,” said the man whose name was not publicly released. He had lived in the trailer, built in 1971, on the corner of South Quartz Avenue and Marble Drive for the past 20 years.
“Major kudos to all of his neighbors,” said Charly McMurdie, Rural/Metro public information officer.
“They took care of him during the fire, gave him a warm blanket to cover up with and some hot cocoa to drink. They will also be taking care of his dogs.”
The fire was discovered by a Yuma County Sheriff's Deputy shortly before 9:40 p.m. He reported it to dispatch, and Rural/Metro was sent to the scene.
Upon arrival, firefighters began fighting the inferno, which had fully engulfed the trailer. They soon heard a hissing sound and realized a gas line was leaking.
They backed away from the trailer and made sure bystanders were removed to a safe distance, although neighboring residences were not evacuated.
Southwest Gas sent a technician to turn off the line, but they could not arrive for about 20 minutes. Since it was not safe for the firefighters to get too close to the structure, they instead worked to prevent the fire from spreading to other properties.
When the technician from Southwest Gas arrived at the fire, they immediately shut off the line to make it safe for the firefighters to approach the trailer. By then the fire had completely destroyed the residence. However, the fire was contained within the property line.
Firefighters stayed on scene until 2 a.m. to ensure hot spots did not reignite the structure.
Red Cross provided the elderly man with shelter Tuesday night. The cause of the fire is under investigation.