CASA GRANDE — A fire demolished two recreational vehicles and two automobiles Tuesday afternoon in Sierra Vista RV Park west of Casa Grande.
The fire could have been a whole lot worse.
Steven Kerber, founder and chief of Regional Fire & Rescue Department, said the park is not in a protected fire district.
Regional Fire was called at 5:12 p.m. after everyone else refused to fight it, according to Kerber.
“It is not in our response area,” he said. “We had to make a judgment call, and we had to call manpower into the station to help cover the station. We were a little delayed in getting out the door by four minutes or so, until we confirmed that someone was on the way. That’s what we have to do when responding to an out-of-the-area fire call.”
It took Regional Fire trucks and personnel 15 to 18 minutes to arrive at the RV park. It took about 20 minutes for the 3,500-gallon tanker to arrive at the distant scene.
“The initial RV was pretty much burned to the ground and a second RV was fully engulfed, along with two passenger vehicles between the RVs,” Kerber said.
People living in the park had begun spraying water on the burning vehicles with garden hoses along with wetting down other RVs in the park. Kerber said their actions stopped the fire from spreading.
A vacant RV space next to the engulfed RVs also helped keep the fire in check, he said.
“The threat was pretty much isolated once the second RV caught fire,” he said.
Regional Fire was able to have the fire under control within 20 minutes of arrival and spent two more hours at the scene mopping up.
Kerber said a couple was renting the RV where the fire began in space No. 2. The male renter came home and smelled something equivalent to burning popcorn, woke up his sleeping girlfriend and they got out of the RV.
Kerber said smoke was seen coming up a sidewall of the RV as the couple evacuated.
“There was nothing but evacuation and a call to the manager that led to a call to 911. Sierra Vista RV Park is in unincorporated Pinal County with no established fire protection. The (Pinal County) Sheriff’s Office had called all other agencies, and everybody refused. We were the last phone call,” Kerber said.
“Embers get into the air and before you know it, the whole park could have burned down. Too many people are oblivious and think they’re going to call 911 and get somebody to respond. They don’t even think to find out who their fire protection is. Are they a subscription-funded fire department? Do I need to subscribe? Am I going to get a bill? They seem highly appreciative when you’re there. When you tell them that they are getting a bill, you are their worst enemy,” Kerber said.
Both RVs and the other two vehicles were a total loss. No one was injured in the fire.