CANE BEDS, Ariz. – A single family residence in Cane Beds, Ariz., near the Utah border, caught fire and was fully consumed in flames Saturday night. The American Red Cross quickly reacted with its Disaster Action Team to provide assistance.
Estella Leanna Gianniotes, representative of the Arizona chapter and long time member of the Salt Lake City chapter of the Red Cross, is a neighbor to the Cane Beds residents. Gianniotes said she was on the road from St. George home when she got the call for the fire. She arrived in Cane Beds around 7 p.m. to witness the home of her neighbors, Mervyn and Shelly Cox, fully engulfed in flames and three-quarters gone.
Gianniotes said that another neighbor, Kyle Lounsburry, was there trying to help.
“He said he saw the flames and tried to save the animals – 3 little dogs – he saved the little animals, I’m not sure about the bigger dog,” Gianniotes said, “the horse took off with the explosion but they found the horse, a cow someone said had been found, two little kittens 9 weeks old, I just gave to them last week as presents, didn’t make it.”
Gianniotes said the Cox’s property is an acre or more in size so the animals just took off. Those saved have all been provided shelter in the community for the night.
Gianniotes said the family was at the County Fair in Washington; “and I’m thanking God for this because if they were in the house they were gone right now,” she said.
As Colorado City Fire Department took over, Gianniotes made calls and was able to reach the husband, Mervyn, by phone.
“There were flames everywhere, it was a disaster, I saw nothing there – they have everything there – so I tried to call them,” Giannotes said, “and finally I got the husband on the phone, and I said that’s what’s going on here, where are you? and he said , ‘we’re at the fair,’ I didn’t want to upset but I said , ‘you have fire.’”
Gianniotes said the Coxes have other sons living in St. George and Hurricane, and she urged Mervyn to come home right away. Meanwhile, she began scavenging the neighborhood for clothes for the family, a difficult task as Mervyn is 6 feet 4 inches tall, she said.
In terms of assistance, the Red Cross has coordinated shelter for the Coxes tonight, they have family nearby, are members of the Hurricane Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Giannotes had left word for the Moccasin Bishop as well.
The cause of the fire will be investigated after it is out. Giannotes said there has been a lot of lightning in Cane Beds of late, her own house having been struck on Friday, frying her electronics, phone lines and the like.
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